Memories: birthdays, holidays, deaths
All colored with the splatter of blood
On the wall and hair ground out
From the root and the hollow
Eyes that saw nothing
And the raw ears that heard nothing.
I mark time with the lines the switch made:
Eight for my eighth. One less for ten.
You remember the cake–your favorite–
And the visit from your mother
I remember the disarray
And his boot print on your shirt.
You remember the songs we sang
I remember my voice quavering
The baby, hurting myself so it would hurt less
Trying and failing perfection over and again
Desperate to keep him happy.
In the silence and the sound
I feel the calloused ridges
Of his palm; you remember it gentle
I remember the sting and dizziness.
Now you forget and your eyes pretend
And I swallow past the lump in my throat
And I am careful not to make him angry
And every fist he makes
Feels connected to the other fists that connected
And you will not remember and
Dammit, forget it, your eyes demand.
But you will not remember
And I cannot forget.
That is the nature of memories.
And I have the scar, raised and straight
The perfect shadow of a half buried root.
It lays somberly across my thigh;
I trace it every now and then.
I feel the blood that runs deep beneath
Wondering if it will ever break through.