mama hoards sadness like she does jewelry and money,
just a twist of the oversize lips, squint of the jaundiced eyes, derisive humor in the voice,
and i know that i am next for the ok corral of criticism and sharp words,
punching bag for the verbal assault, passive-agressive in a manner that doesn't sink in until i'm alone
with my traitourous thoughts, feeling nothing but hate for myself and for her,
along with hate's best friend self-doubt, and self-doubt's ginger-headed cousin, anxiety,
always there to ruin my day.
tears, always tears, ready before i can steady the buffs. i should be tough. it's been years and still
i cry at the drop of a hat.
oh, i cry for a lot less time, now. allow myself to boo-hoo and hide my face snot into my sleeves,
and then i'm ready. and when she smiles at me and asks me a question that doesn't seem bad at first,
that doesn't seem loaded with rhetoric and traps for bad answers and complaints about my nature,
i'll smile and play the game because maybe this time she actually isn't mad