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Dad

Processing family trauma one poem at a time.

“Can we pretend things are how they used to be?”
Can I look for my own reflection instead of yours in the mirror?

The moments between heartbeats are the only ones your voice doesn’t follow. 
I can no longer hear affection after seeing your rage. 
Listening makes my ears bleed now. 

“Can’t you just let it go?”
Can’t you just let me go?

My teeth ache from clenching my jaw.
My throat, from choking down responses to keep peace, is raw. 
I’ve let it roll off my back so much my shoulders hunch forward to make myself small. 

“Why are you making such a big deal?”
Why must you continue gaslighting?

You live in hypocrisy. 
We were never supposed to be able to live up to your expectations. 
They were a trap to tell us we never even tried. 


“You know, his kids have...”
You know, comparison damages us. 

I’m bone-deeply exhausted with being a game piece. 
I never signed up for the competition. 
Too late I understood the playing field was never designed for me. 

“You know I love you, but..”
“If you don’t do this, it’s clear you don’t care about us the way we care about you.”
“If you don’t stop talking, you can find somewhere else to live.”
“Your feelings don’t matter, here!”
“If she goes back to that hospital, it’s your fault.”
“You’re creating a problem in our relationship by telling your mother things and not me.”
“I mean everything I say. You just don’t know how to communicate.”
“You know I never meant that, right?”

No. I don’t know that you love me. 
I only know that to you I’m a burden until I’m useful. 
I only know that I shouldn’t have feelings. 
I only know that I have to watch vigilantly for changes in tone or I lose my safety. 
I only know distance is created to punish. 
I only know boundaries are “supposed to be” one way. 
I only know to keep my mouth shut while yours gets to stay unhinged at everyone around you. 


I only know I don’t want to be around you. 
And I wish you would go. 

 

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