More Than an Address

Last month,
my heart beat itself
into my 29th lap at life,
14 years deep
in spilling ink
and I have yet
to address you.

You,
born to islanders for parents
that spoke a dialect of love
so broken,
it could be translated
into abuse
all too easily.

You,
with the mother
that chose to raise daughter
instead of son
for a sum of reasons
I still can’t calculate.

You,
with the austere father
that robbed you of weekends,
summer breaks,
sleep-ins,
and childhood days
to secure a man that knows
he, who cheats himself
from labor today,
saves himself the crumbs
for his daily bread tomorrow.

Last night,
the eyes of the woman I love
inquired for the inventory
to my damage.
Internally,
the barcode of my lashes
pitched a price too high
for my pride to break the bank.

But verbally,
I complied.
My reply:
“I never felt
like I was enough.”

At times,
parental love
felt rationed.
At times,
I envied the island
from whence they came
because the dialect
of the ocean’s love
was all encompassing and
I just wanted to be
loved that way.

How,
in a house with two kids
did I feel like the third option to love?
Why,
did I have to question
if blood was thicker than water?
When,
were you going to inform me
that I was something worth bragging about
well after the party was over,
well after church luncheon?

This,
may not be a confessional
but I needed you to be real with me.
Some twenty odd laps at life
still searching for approval
isn’t the idea formula for sanity,
or the blueprint
for constructing a man’s confidence.
Fourteen years of spilled ink
got me skilled to sink
in someone else’s moccasins,
when I just needed you to show me
how to walk in my own.

I needed to know
what home felt like,
needed to see
that it was more than walls,
more than ceiling.
I needed to know
it was comprised of feeling
more than longing,
of loving and belonging
to something more than an address
I used to call home.

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Aspirations to Adhere

It’s 5:27 am
and this draft
wants nothing more
than to drag itself slowly
up
my
spine,
tap my shoulder
and whisper lies these
lost satin sheets
tell a little more subtly.
My hand
slides across the bed, blindly
in search of your skin
to splice with mine
only to find you
already gone.

The alarm
sets itself singing
to the tunes of nuisance
for the fourth time.
As the snooze in me drains
my adrenaline spikes;
the rush
is on.

By the time I get downstairs
my hair’s haphazardly parted,
my tie’s in more knots than it should be,
you’re drinking the last cup of coffee
and our daughter’s eating
“What in the world is that?!?”
I tell her to put it down,
hustle to the fridge and apparently
shelves are the only thing
on the breakfast menu.

You make a clever remark,
it catches me off guard
and our offensive words
are fencing unmasked,
suddenly hasting towards
a mate to check
as we hurl them off our chests.
The kitchen
has reached its melting point;
and our love
is quickly evaporating,
‘til all that remains
is wisps of what we once were.

Remembering our child’s presence
we pause
and assume adulthood again.
She’s kneeling on the chair
and her arms, like tender stems
seem to sway effortlessly
as she busies herself
with a puzzle.
Seizing our silence
she stops to say:
“When I grow up,
I want to be glue.”
Perplexed, we begin to see
the image emerge ‘neath her palms.
“I want to be
what holds these pieces together
forever and ever.”
Placing the last piece down,
she looks up at us
and smiles.
It was our marriage photo,
torn and bent,
seemingly un-mendable.
Taking each of our thumbs
she said,
“I want to be
what makes mommy and daddy
one big puzzle again.”