A poem about my dad (he wasn't one of my abusers.) I don't have a title for it yet. It's not very good. Sorry.
In my mind you are always smoking cigarettes on the couch,
Feet propped up on a wooden crate,
Nodding your head to the sound of Beatles records on a yard sale turntable.
The sun is falling orange behind brick buildings and smokestacks
Towers against the sky, spewing gray,
Three months before the factories shut down.
Our bellies are empty from lean supper and we are thin;
I am older now, and can go hungry without crying.
Fine concrete dust is embedded in your clothes,
Your hands, your face.
Dirty fingernails tap ashes from your cigarette;
A quick jerk of the wrist, and embers sizzle out in the air, spinning,
And I watch as if nothing in the world is as important as this.
I never forgot the words to the soundtrack of my childhood,
Cassette tapes melting on the dashboard,
American Pie on the car radio
As you drove us through back roads in the midst of summer.
My sister and I sang along.
Even then, though, you were tired;
Your smile weaker, older,
Your shoulders less straight and your shave less close.
The years only made it worse.
I've never stopped wanting to sit in your lap,
To listen to music, to laugh,
But the words in my mouth come right from your records:
I could have told you, Father
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.
And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea