There are some silences which annihilate the landscape.
I was brought up with them, learnt the topography of them
across the kitchen table. Fatherless girls fall in love
with the ghosts of their fathers. How many times
have I had to remind myself of this? But I’ve learned
not to look back in anger and not to confuse servitude
with solitude or vice versa. You know how it is,
that feeling of standing still in space, with every
double entendre, every double-bladed sword
sinking into the back of someone’s neck
while you watch, completely stunned?
The fire consumes a histrionic,
blisters them with jealousy,
turns ordinary women into furies.
I watched my grandmother pour gin
and vermouth down her throat,
as if that could somehow drown the flames,
but she passed out by 7 pm every night.
Momma would go upstairs to get stoned.
I’d play with my Barbies in the closet,
left numb, wondering why everything can’t be
straight forward. And if some things
just weren’t nice, you should never speak
of them again. But it is almost winter,
and I am myself ever, and God
is nowhere to be found. I watched
my grandmother recede in dementia
and my mother beaten into an invalid
by a stroke. She used to call me a changeling,
a wicked child. I came into her life
during a storm. I brewed secret poisons in
holes I dug, filled with rainwater and little
toads I caught behind the house.
Can I write myself into being?
Give me some matchsticks
and a cold and desolate patch of rock.
Give me some dead branches
under the twisting ribbon of night.
I’d fly through it; I’d fly straight
( Robin DeFrance is a writer and activist who worked many years as a caregiver. Currently, she resides in Kane, PA with her partner and cats. She finds poetry to be the best mouthpiece for communicating traumatic experiences such as isolation, abuse, sorrow, love, or remorse.)
The Beautiful Space-