The woman at the stilled light resembles me in the shape of her (impatience) until I notice her face, made asymmetrical by fire, some refiguring story, and I think they could be just paper plates, dimes stretched thin to fit us faces, “render unto Caesar…render unto God…
our Father who art in heaven…”
Been ten years set free of the obligations of earthbound Father’s Day while You tied yourself- knot at the end of this rope of my life. Hold on tight, little girl, kite in the wind, blue sky coming,
Jen asks me why the parenthesis around Badamo(?) and I give her part of an answer in words then spend the rest of the day thinking about how inefficient it is to attempt to distill rage, grief, voicelessness into a slim set of punctual marks.
There was a moment (or a million) after I lost my foster daughter (Veronica Celeste Badamo) when I thought, baby mills (they never cared who they were hurting, I was just a care-giver placeholder, God, how much this hurts)…
I was (just) a foster mother. Just a bystander, unless heartbreak were a thing objectively quantifiable.
Not just the way they lied to us.
All the children who got taken.
All the voicelessness
Still just editing:
Went to Gram’s, the window was busted, my brothers in the yard…the cops asked what I wanted to do. Didn’t want to make trouble so I went with him to Florida for a year until my mother had him extradited.
When we came back they got back together!
Later he was in the kitchen washing out a coffee pot and he collapsed. We had a Ouija board on top of the refrigerator. Mom said that was what really killed him.
We waited 45 minutes for the ambulance. Tara tried to give him CPR….
just the (minimalist) editor here-
I miss her.
She’d call me Jennybug. She was sexually abused by her paternal uncle. They made my brother watch. Devastating. Terrible monsters.
My father had been exposed to agent orange in Vietnam. He got cancer. It was bad…before he got sick…he stole me when he was in remission.
My brother had just gotten out of the army reserves and needed socks so we were living at my Pap-pap’s. I was only eight. I had a bad feeling and I begged and begged my mother not to take him to the store.
They left me at the laundromat to get the socks from the store. As soon as they left my dad showed up and took me.
End Part 2
My friend wrote a story– hit me in the gut. Here it is. Not my words, hers:
We used to hide in the closet not knowing if our mom was dead or alive. She had a scholarship but my Pap-pap got sick so we moved in and she hung out with the wrong people.
She wouldn’t go to school because people would make fun of her. Her stepmom used to lock her and my brother in the basement, crack eggs on their heads, beat them…
She raised me, never had a minute without me unless I was with my Grams.
We had a boat. My dad loved her as his own. We three were always on the boat. We used to have to go chop wood and drag it and it was cold.
They were cheap so they used the fireplace, ugh-deer meat! They made us eat deer meat. I refused to eat it. She did dishes, so I would spit it in a cup and she would throw it away for me.
End Part 1
First, pick my chasuble with care: war paint, cowgirl boots, stretched-out pale-pink tutu from the racks upon racks at the resale store, brand-new for the girls who did not need them anymore, all donated to science or the graveyard where I go to pace and splutter out some fractured litany about a beat-up pickup truck, iterations of a lost father, lawn furniture strewn above the tree line, the same forgotten first name of both Sikorsky and Stravinsky, and this jittery alter-ego who swings wild, shouts loud, raises hell as though bones and memory and words could be as easily strung together as that-to breath life into the dead as they fit their joints and hinges back together, back to life, the way an ordinary man rises from his bed, rubs his eyes, dons his pants and his shirt, walks out into
for so long now I have seen Ophelia’s clothes each time I scoop leaves from the bottom of the pool, of the well, of the teacup of memory she comes back to me with a plaintive song about the boy whose soliloquies broke into a thousand words over water, hovering over the surface of the deep, almost a song until you cannot swim, touch the bottom and feel only tangled leaves, no solid ground to stand on if only she could get herself…well-to a nunnery, of course…high walls, soft voices sorting who or what is safe if not the boy, the beautiful boy with all his talk of infinitives of being….being, just a leaf in water, weightless until it begins to rise over her incendiary last infinitive thought-to be or not to be.