You were always so afraid. The loss you lived with

was too much. Maybe you were born with skin

that stung with the rain. Maybe the light hurt you

more than others. I sought you out, called gently

from my childhood self, like calling a cat home

from the dark woods, careful not to spook it,

hoping that you would come back to me,

come out of your dark, folded heart and just sit

beside me, reading a story I loved. But you stayed

hidden. Behind your open mouth, its teeth in the O

of anger, behind the shut lids of your eyes,

blistered by rage. The note from the woman you found

in your husband’s pocket. The poem I wrote

about an old woman and you thought it was you,

it must be you, always you–

because of course I had to be bad, something cold

born out of your womb, some ultimate betrayal. After all

you did for me, nearly dying to birth me,

of course, I had to be a traitor. It was the only thing

you knew was real, the pain you felt, had to feel.

Poem featured at inknode.