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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Consider Me Forgotten

I remember the days when
we’d stroll the sidewalk
hand in hand along the beach;
lazy rays made our shadows
droop behind our heels
long and more reluctant to follow
than we were to leave the sand,
seashells ,
and what you called
“sea drool” on the shore.

You said that you
liked the three-legged silhouette
that tracked us close,
only because it made us one
when every stride of mine
were two of yours.

I remember when
you used to hail the wind
to drift us far,
far from human scars,
the city lights,
the stream of parked cars and
you were a dazzling shot of hypnosis.
I’d look you up under amazing,
beautiful,
breath-taking but
you were never there.

You helped me out of my wheelchair
and into the car;
the drive back was piercing silence
and muffled tear drops.
I could tell,
you missed our shadows
and the rusting metal wheels
would only take me so far,
so far.

I remember you coming to visit
everyday as if you weren’t a wife,
a mother of two
or a teacher of
twenty-seven and a half children.
You
remained at my bedside,
for hours it seemed,
silent.
I wish I could tell you
to “stay strong,”
that this “isn’t thee end,”
some other appeasing cliche
to white-knuckle grip,
that there is life
after survival,
but the fear translated in your eyes
knew no change,
no comfort.

With every passing minute
you became
a conjugation of sadness,
a hint less brighter than upon arrival and
you prayed for a miracle.
I never feared that it wouldn’t come,
only that if it didn’t
you would always remember;
the sea-salt crusted spokes
of my wheelchair,
the expiration of my inspiration
as a ghost of a memory,
remember,
when your strides reached mine,
remember,
when our three-legged silhouette
would baffle the ocean.