Too much pt 4

The end of the line, the middle
of the road. Where am I going?
A townhouse this time. Two
to a room, three rooms per unit.
Space for a third in the master.
Home with Kris again. Free
to come and go as I please,
but I only want solitude and quiet
and time to read. The tub is nice
and oddly long. I soaked most days.
Three hours of groups before noon.
Lunch. Leisure time. Self reflection.
For me, knitting and napping and writing.
Checks all the boxes.

“Anything under 11 hours a week
is considered outpatient.”
Art therapy Friday morning first.
Music therapy Friday morning second.

I saved every piece of artwork
Sang every single Friday.

Half a dozen repressed memories
unwillingly excavated.

My mind is haunted because it it built
atop a burial mound of pain and crisis.

Trauma bonding— night terrors
have me talking in my sleep, and Kris’s
night terrors have her respond.

Hospitalization, residential, PHP (partial hospitalization), IOP(intensive outpatient).

Not for nothing.

Too much pt 3

I was handcuffed by Broward County
officers, loaded in the back seat
like luggage, closed inside. The plastic
felt like the bed of a truck with a hollow
for my cuffed hands. Plexiglass.
Guns on hips. They talked about dinner
plans and partner banter, while my mask
fogged my glasses and I sobbed in silence.
Admissions to Imperial Point was a large
room, eight reclining chairs. A shot of
Ativan felt like a flu shot. A shot of Hell dog,
and I woke on a plastic, springless mattress
perched on a plastic bolted bed.
Breakfast at 8am. First group at 9am.
Bolted tables and weighted chairs.
Twigs of pencils, no chocolate, hard
backs contraband. All quiet save
Meth Head Santa banging on
the window to the south ward with his
toothless mouth pressed against the glass.
“I’ve gotta get to work!” Hell dog
didn’t win that fight. Hours where
I laid in bed staring out my triple
paned windows at the Miami skyline.
I stared, studied, slowed my breathing,
let my mind sift out the large thoughts,
devour them, and sit in empty silence.
Caroline was quiet. Resigned. Lonely.
Roll over, let the clattering settle, stare
at the bolted bedside table, the shared
bathroom, the door that couldn’t close.
Still not Baker Acted.

My hair

At 11, I thought I hated my hair.
All frizz and fluff and just
too large. My mother told me
I wanted sleek. I wanted straight.
I wanted what my sister had.
Nothing could get me there.

She tried braids, but fuzz
danced at the surface. Even
weighed down with thirty seconds
of Aqua Net, its will was too strong.

She tried hot oil, pulling
and scalding, and yanking with
each whimper. My scalp bled
and burned, and my hair shone
brightly, a halo floating above me.

She tried a curling iron
that always burned my ears.
There are scars that mark
her slips. They stayed for an hour,
maybe, until they cooled, then
my hair grew, the heat fertile soil
to bloom.

She tried hot curlers, their spikes
holding them fast, the burning
prolonged over night, a cap
covering my head to hold
the heat in, and the itching itching
itching that I couldn’t scratch.
They fell in the early morning.

She tried a perm. I ran
full speed through trees and grass,
zig zagging across an acre
to escape the chemical smell
and sting. My hair blossomed
into a sunflower, reaching away
and toward the light.

She taught me how to pull
it into a bun, to gel it all down
slick against my skull. It only lasted
to the afternoon. She gave me
mousse with the strongest hold
to tame it if I could. I could not.

I fought. Win. Lose. Win. Lose.

I grew tired. I stopped fighting.
I conceded. My hair slowed and showed
why she couldn’t be flattened,
burned, poisoned to fit
what my mother wanted, what I thought
I wanted. There was never
anything wrong with us. My hair
would never be sleek. It will never
be straight like my sister’s.
All she wanted was peace and to curl.

My father’s keeper

No one wants to live
to see their parents
become children, dependent,
vulnerable, leaning on canes
and walkers and others.

The mourning. The shift
from child to care giver.
The exhaustion.

No one wants to see it, to live
it. Roles reversed.

Guess I should have
checked out when
I was six.

On understanding my grandmother

Since I am alone every night
in my king sized bed, I keep books,
heating pad, water, by my wall.


She makes so much more
sense now that I know
what it is to be too small
for your bed alone.

She kept her bible, newspapers,
cordless phone, by her wall.

Mine on the left, hers on the right.
Mirror, mirror, mirror.

She slept alone for 28 years.

That length of time is too
large for my brain, pushing
the edges outward. Bending.

How? How did she do it?
No dog or cat or plush
companion. Utterly alone.

How did she sleep, unmoving,
so when she woke her bed
looked undisturbed?

What other secrets was she
hiding? Whisper them through
the miles, across the years,
and into the heart of the child
you loved best.


How do you want to be remembered,
to be seen, to be loved?
Did it hurt when Adam
demeaned you? Did he matter?
Did you love him?

Did he hurt you?

Did you try to save meek Eve?
Did you watch him dig his teeth
into the pomegranate, spitting out
the bitter flesh at her feet, garnet
oozing down his chin? Did he
sink his teeth into you? Into her?

Did you stay and watch him
fling seeds at her, scream
that she made him do it?
That everything was her fault?
Did you beg again, then, for her
to leave him to be safe with you?

Did you rage against the original
abuser and the monster he prized?

Did he hurt you?
Are you safe?

No one

No one in this house is awake.
No one writing poetry.
No one writing.
No one awake in bed.
No one begging for sleep.

Am I begging?
Am I ready to cave, to quit?
Am I ready to flip the switch
down, lay in darkness,
set an alarm?

No one is setting an alarm.

Should I keep writing?
No one is writing.

Should I stretch?
No one is stretching.

Why don’t I care enough?
Am I still competitive?
Am I still that overachieving
child, distraught over less-than-perfect?
Am I still afraid of not being the best?

No one is afraid of not being the best.

No one is readjusting their glasses.
No one is listening for the neighbor’s
return on his Yamaha.
No one is watching Khooba
twitch as he dreams.

Why am I?

They can’t all be winners.


I never gave my bones
much thought when I had form,
flesh. A frame. Inconsequential.
When we died, we could join
our ancestors, our parents,
back and back and back.
I do not remember how I died.
I know that I did. I was mourned,
placed in deference to cross
and return. I watched others,
sisters, sink and rise. I do not know
what I am.

I was not my body. I was not
simply human. Are any of us?
I felt, still feel, the pull Beyond.
I cannot tell where or in which
direction. I stay. I remain.

I loved and was loved
by scavengers, dutifully, gratefully,
playing their part. I was not
flesh. Some scattered me,
my bones, and I did not follow.
I have not felt pain. I was not bone.

Water rose, and I saw the sun
through surface ripples. Eons.

Two bones left— tibia and fibula.
They are not me. I do not believe.

The sand and silt cover them,
and I hold my watch. Dust.
Desiccation. Crystalline sharp
taste of salt.

Tibia is dust destined, dust borne,
dust released. Grateful.
I am not tibia.

Fibula hardens, stubborn. Like me?
All that is left of my body.
Here I remain.

The dead are tourists passing
through, nodding as they watch
and see and whisper and leave.
I am alone.

Fibula browns, imitates a brother,
mineral. Am I Fibula?
I remain.

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