Not long ago I took off my skin. Your hands looked empty. You said you would take care of all my pieces. And you were so warm and you shone like your mother and I fell in love in the way family does when they reunite after years and tears away.
I don’t know you except to know how you gain power, that bills are your blankets and other people pay them. I know that you bathe in milk and honey because you are your own queen. And because I know where you came from and the ways you were hurt, I can’t hate you like I would any less-beloved, less-complicated person.
Your hands were warm but your nails were sharp. You rent me casually, cast my pieces aside and laughed lightly. You don’t need those, you told me. I’ve done you a favor.
When I found myself scattered in bits, I recognized I do not know you enough to explain how you could say your presence in my life was a blessing. How you could clothe me in castoffs and be pleased with yourself when clearly what you offered was the least of your love? The least you could do? Even if you painted it as the most, yourself as the best. Were you caught up in the stitches you said would heal me? You shouldn’t have been. You knew you were lying and I was convenient no matter how you frame it because I was a means to lifting you back to benevolent, better than, compassionate and loving. The way you want to see yourself. Not the way you are.
I no longer thank you, sister survivor. You are ruled by your fear. You can’t build a lifeboat from diamonds. You can’t build a family from ashes. And you have burned me beyond recognition. You do not have me anymore outside the common love of mothers. I have always lifted you. It is what we should do for each other. But when I think of you, I have never been pressed further down.
Image Credit: “ripped jeans” by Jonny Hunter