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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Broken Home

We worked at the same place,
or at least
held the same position.
I clocked in a day late,
got lost in the transition,
of picking up our daughters
from softball and gymnastics.
Was it your turn or mine?
I know I promised I’d be on time
but perfection requires practice,
right?
Maybe it’s somethin’ about the schedule,
but I’m tired of making excuses.
*sighs*
We’re just
not as well oiled
compared to our yesteryears,
or maybe
Life’s wristwatch is set on the wrong day.
(Always did prefer the quartz over digital)

Perhaps,
fate’s train had for us,
different destinations.
Mine headed west to set,
yours headed east to rise
and I calculated
that at some noon,
some midnight
we would’ve met,
in a moment between blinked seconds.
But your eyes were
always closed,
back towards me,
head rested on a stranger’s shoulder,
always asleep.

My life raced passed
these solid slabs of antiquity,
raised in the promising suits of perfection,
yet made corruptible by every season.
Spring bombarded them
with photons of felicity,
but we ignored the dents it left behind then.
Summer reigned ‘neath sorrowful skies,
corroding the sharp edges,
but we were defiant to its rule,
did not heed its forecast.
Autumn engulfed them,
attempted to make them
one of itself as it proclaimed,
“Gloom shall befall you!”
But we should’ve listened to Winter,
as it clothed these edifices in purity,
encasing them in cold death,
we stood frozen in its grip,
bound in eternal,
crestfallen matrimony.

Still my nose pressed
against these subway windows,
with worthless hopes
cast into a wishing fountain
long ago;
and when these trains
finally did meet
or at least cross paths;
and for that millisecond
that our presence were in sync,
I grasped your hand,
held it.
Did not let go,
kept it
close to my soul,
embedded
so deep within that
your closed hand became my heart.
Fingers opened,
and closed.
Opened,
and closed.
Grabbing my love that is still
opened
and closed
for you,
to you…
As your fingers bleed times of softest touches,
caressing the deepest scars into wishes.
Wishing that I would’ve met you
lifetimes ago to avoid these scars,
or maybe wishing that you would
never become one upon my heart.

So I’m standing here
at your doorstep,
greeted with an air of oddity.
I’m out of place,
not like our tilted,
framed marriage photo in the living room
that left wondering visitors with sore necks;
not like the orange lilies
of yesterdays resting atop the toaster,
love forsaken despite being your favorites.
No.
I’m standing outside the door of a stranger.
Standing outside,
with a tray of honest promises
and a concrete mix of hope,
prepared to fix
what I’ve broken.
Outside the door,
of a marriage in need of saving,
a soul with forgotten cravings,
lonely roads in need of paving,
outside,
of a broken home.