A Careful Measurement

It’s all I can do since you stopped writing to me
to recreate your image in a story
in which you are as tall as you ever were
and as sleek with the same bushy hair
but I’ve added some embarrassing skin afflictions

you are trotting across a country road in the rain
and to my credit, I don’t let any cars hit you
there is nothing but thunder and lightning
striking through the gravy of a sky
with the consistency of porridge
I have surrounded you with this setting
as a suffocating, lonely blanket
the mud staining the bottom of your skirts
and all the cows and horses in hiding
somewhere warmer than you will be able to find
until several chapters later
the scene is lumpy gray with mud and clouds
both splashing and infuriated
then, as you are running, your heel breaks

that is exactly how much I hate you today

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A private bad thought for the books

As an administrator and key speaker
of three consecutive holiday parties
the carpool driver to an expensive holiday dinner
five towns over, the secret ingredient
of three secret santas and the recipient
of an all expense paid vacation
i have to admit that i fucking hate christmas

last year i stayed in alone
watched seven holocaust documentaries
and the pianist. when i think about it
i wax nostalgic

Hey mom, if you’re reading this

you should stop
I’ve changed my phone number
and I’m thinking about blocking you on facebook
ill tell you why, but my guess is that youve stopped reading
once you realized I was about to be unkind
anyways, i spent my life until the age of thirty
either terrified of you or being neglected
and you didnt help me during my crisis
which shouldnt surprise me one bit, but
you didn’t do so much as to share my gofundme page
though you shared a picture of my brother recently
who you’ve always allowed to be cruel to me
on his vacation

oh and remember that time
you forced me to get an abortion?
and forced him to pay so i could by myself things
and then disappeared again? I bet you felt
so good about yourself then
or when i OD’d and you were my emergency contact
and i hadnt seen you in months
remember when you laughed and took me out to lunch?
but two days later, when i OD’d again
you were nowhere to be found

guess what mom, these experiences were traumatizing for me
so i’m thinking you wont miss out on grandchildren
unfortunately-but if you do, you will only hear about it
through your friends who are still friends with me on facebook
and im glad, because you really fucked your first grandchild
right in the head-and im glad her mother, sister and their other grandmother
have cut you out, i think I’ll follow their lead

do you remember kicking me out
for the first time at age 12
for having a girlfriend
without so much as asking
what kind of incident
might have led to my
errant behaviors
or congratulating me
on making a friend
it was because i was molested, mom
and you never even asked

you allowed me to drop out
of high school, and then,
when i was invited to my prom
you called me a cunt and withheld
my grandmother’s dress from me
insisting that it was your mothers
and that i couldnt wear it

you threw away the poetry
book i made you for Christmas
you said it was depressing
i got attention for a story i wrote
about healing which you rejected
because you said it reflected poorly
on you as a mother, which it didnt

i supported you when you wrote books about sex
and you wouldn’t so much as share my poetry page
and when i came back from korea, after three years
you were rude to me and said you needed to go
straight to bed. my friend drove three hours
to drop me off from the airport and she saw the whole thing
it was humiliating. you didnt even hug me

and speaking of friends and humiliation
the mansion you bought for yourself and your husband
who you chose over me when i was a drug addicted teen
you left for dead on the streets—
years later, when i was 20 and in college
at least you said i could have a friend come visit
the Berkshires and stay in one of your suites
then you took it back the weekend she was supposed to be coming
and said actually, you didnt want strangers in your mansion

you called me the fat girl from the circus repeatedly
when i went through a chubby phase
right before i got my period and grew out of it
and it has always, always been about you
it has never once been about me
and did you know i stopped drawing completely
when you told me to because social welfare was coming
to take me away you said, and even at the age of eleven
i thought foster care, anything, would be preferable
but i was too afraid to keep drawing after you told me not to
and now, i cant draw anything-you stole that from me

and you know, mom, instead of being ignored, slighted, or screamed at for hours
i couldve used some counseling, and i want to thank you
for discouraging me to go to college, for saying i was a good enough
cashier and i should stick with it, because that is the reason i went
and hey mom, you can permanently suck my dick
your sister has stepped in as my surrogate mother
and thats where i will be, with her in Arizona for Christmas
hey mom, did you ever think once to invite me on one of your vacations?
no, the most recent times ive come to visit
you invited me to a movie with my stepmother, because apparently
you do not enjoy spending time alone, or at all with me
hey mom, guess what, i finally get it
because i feel the same
i just hope that when youre husband dies
you wont come calling me

and by the way, youve always wanted to know
why i love my father more than you
ill tell you that too
first and foremost, it’s because
through the divorce up until I’m 30
he has never, ever, spoken unkindly to me
about you-and i know he did that
so i wouldnt end up feeling hurt or confused
even as a three year old
i understood
the difference between
someone who was being nice to me
and someone who was mean

Unfinished Business

So long as I am living my ears will perk up

whenever your name is mentioned

and I used to hate it, I considered moving

staying in, killing you off

i’ve thought about your death alot

i’ve come to terms with your mortality

better than you have, probably

except that I don’t know

how long you’ll live

but by the time

one of us is gone for good

I wonder if I’ll miss it

my failure to launch

with you has rendered me

some mystery, some meaning

Are you convinced yet?

“Tell the truth, did you ever develop feelings for him?”

“Meh, amusement.”

“That’s not an answer!”

“No, i mean it. I knew he was bullshitting the whole time so i didnt catch feelings. He was a funny distraction, but thats it. He also has alot of unattractive qualities.”

“Ok, i believe you.”

“I didnt realize i was trying to convince!”

“No, the vehemence of your feelings towards him suggested something different, but i get it”

“Oh no, i just really hate men.”