autobiography, 2017

product of an alcoholic
and genetically depressive
raised with love and care,
but exposed to adulthood
before she even knew what it
meant to be a woman.
nights spent lying awake
and listening to her home,
her sanctuary, crumbling
upon her like the edges of
her favorite thanksgiving pie.
a parents love fore their child is infinite,
they say, for each other is forever
but love knows boundaries.

second best
they will always be second best.

years spent spewing “fine” and “happy”
to whomever would listen.
how could she admit that
she hid flaws beneath her shirt,
scars beneath her skin?
every night, tucked in by the smell
of smoke and whiskey
a kiss to the forehead by the same lips
that made love to the bottom of a bottle.
forced awake by the sounds of slamming doors
broken cries, and the promise of no return.
she never got a full night of sleep.

they grow up too fast, a silly little saying
a tragic reality.
uncouthly pubescent but ungracefully aging,
she’ll have wrinkles by the time she’s legal.
it could always be worse, right?
it could always be worse.
but we’re given only one pair of shoes to walk miles in,
a single life in which
she sees handcuffs on her father’s wrist,
and tastes salt on her mother’s cheeks
and hears how she’ll never be good enough on replay.
how could she be?
how could they be
when daddy’s only love is apathy.

she’ll never be like her parents,
she’s certain before she can even drive
and then suddenly she’s in love
drunk with something she’s never felt
until he begins feeling her
and feeling her
and she’s still not fucking good enough.
in a time to be making mistakes
she stands poised, fearless, and wise
her world is so full of color while
others only see in shades of gray.
she’s already lived

before she could have a drink at the bar,
regret a night with a stranger.
before life without a curfew
or she can even buy a cigarette.
it means nothing
it all means nothing
to someone who has already
filled the pages of her book.
now she writes in margins
and dreams that it was all a work
of fiction.

-pe

 

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