i was 17 the last i spoke with my father.
home that tuesday night smelling toxic,
with the world giving away beneath his feet.
bloodshot pinball eyes, carrying
1000 unconfessed sins and
a half empty beer bottle,
mad at my mother (claiming whore),
mad at the world (countless lost jobs, wasted hours, and missed opportunities),
but mostly mad at me:
a stupid scrawny kid with toothpick arms, a bad haircut, and crooked teeth
who since the age of 4
had been repeatedly beaten with belt
and bent coat hanger,
and left bruised and crying on the unwashed
ceramic bathroom floor.
three minutes before midnight
he burst through the door.
Mother begged and screamed for him to go,
begged and screamed to let Her go,
before meeting his fist
the chairs and table thrown about
i stood in the hall and watched.
poor Mother called out for my help.
She wanted me to stand up to my father,
and of course, i did.
because She was right.
but i knew that She had
urged my father to do
everything he did
took advantage of his confusion and anger
and directed it towards me.
sitting in a stool
in a corner of a dimly lit room.
drinking until his liver had corroded
and watching the paint
peel off the cracked white walls,
urge and will shedding from his skin.
Her in Her Unfaltered Brilliance
pointed the finger
She had never been okay,
Her medication stored in the back of a dust covered cabinet
and Her medical records stored away beneath the bed.
at some point the doctors just stopped calling.
She had dominated me
like a dog,
and like a dog
tearing at my leash
afterwards, i remember limping through the streets
with my face completely swollen,
unable to open my right
lip ruptured, my tongue
drowned in the bitter taste of iron.
the angels weeped
the manhole covers
of the street.
i remember that this was the night of the big tropical storm
off in a state or country too far away to recollect
where it rained
for almost an entire week
and the streets were flooded
and the cars overturned
and the houses destroyed
and the kids drowned alongside their grandparents
and the church collapsed
on 176 people
and no one made it out
and the flood waters ran downhill
and drowned the farmers and the horses and the sheep
and the cats hid in trees and ate the baby birds
and the homeless didn't get away
and they were never able to completely rebuild.
and i never returned home.
the el and Her.
i don't know what they fight
or how loud they scream
or if he finally did
leave as he
had confided in me;
when we drove down gray dead
in his busted up white truck
after a hard day's work.
god did not forsake the people that week.
Mother Nature had him by his balls and She did what She pleased.
i forgive him.