Life Itself

She told me with a red face.

Our silent rage crackled around us like lightning in the rumble before the rain.

I heard her whisper- through her teeth,

She has only ever worked to make me happy in this new cellophane wrapped life.

She screamed- what else.

What else could she possibly give me when she has given me everything.


All the luxuries I had never asked for.


I replied to her only once- asking for Freedom,

But she shut me down so fast that the storm had come and gone.

My eyes didn’t even have time to focus on the way the clouds like to roll against each other slowly.


She told me I was but a spoiled child that is sweet and mushy like rotten fruit.

I oughta be thrown out after a week of looking pretty set on the table in a glass bowl.

So as a solution to this newfound issue I set the same glass bowl on my head,

because the glass warps the house just right.

When i’m looking around with patterned glass obscuring my vision I can still pretend that the furniture is in the right place and the walls are farther apart.


I settle on pretending.

Instead of pretending I really want nothing more than to just return to the house where I was raised.

I wish this so much so that when I sink into my bed

I’ll yank out my hair, clinch my eyes shut and strain to remember the way my feet sounded as I raced up the stairs, and the way Daddy’s guitar sounds in the night time.

His raspy voiced has sung me to sleep so many times.

I grasp to remember dad's bear hugs and back pops, and the way he smells like the most perfect mixture between coffee, gasoline and salt water.


I can only really remember the smell of salt water;

Only because i’m drowning here in this small house we call home.

I'm sinking and even as my body is pulled below the waves I can still see him alone on the front porch.

He is just watching the sunrise and the songbirds, missing us.


I lay and wait here in this small prison.

I’m left staring at my crooked paintings through this glass bowl.

I'm now a fish; breathing in toxic atmospheres like fresh air.

This air tastes like tears, regrets and everything wrong,

but I force myself to breathe it in.

I don’t have money to buy more air,

and the price for existing has risen to an extreme.

I’m as broken as my piggy bank

but no one ever goes searching for anything in me anymore.

My pockets have long since been turned out

and my wallet only holds a picture of a girl who smiles a little too wide.


Then there’s Her.

I hear her voice when she's not really here.

She is telling me everything about myself and she won't get out of my head.

I always second-guess myself.

I'm almost always doing something wrong in her eyes.

When I do something right and she praises me it never really feels like praise.

Everything about her shifts if you look too close.

She's a master at camouflage and can melt into a different person in seconds.

Just you try to speak your mind.


My mind is a motorboat that will not turn over.

It is stuck trying to make waves in one spot.

I can no longer even remember the smell of the salt water around me

or the gasoline that fuels me

because this small prison smells overpoweringly like cleaners and vanilla candles.

Only the stench of rotten fruit smells like me.

It lingers in my room while I'm laying on my bed wishing the paint would peel so I can start to tear everything down.


This entire family is a wreckage in my eyes.

I regret I never heard anyone warn me.

The only real victims of divorce are the children.


Why didn’t anyone warn me?

Why did fate have to deal such a cruel deck of cards?

Why did we all get such terrible hands?

Someone should have cut the deck

so I can know for certain no one cheated.

Someone should have held me that first night;

when I cried myself a hole in my new mattress

And buried the version of myself that knew how to truly smile.


I haven't washed my sheets in weeks and my things are scattered around the room.

A storm has blown through.

However somehow I’ve survived.

I still don't know how.


I stare through the glass bowl that's still on my head, and I watch my life go by

like a predictable comedy show.

Every joke has been heard before and every smile is fake.


This isn't really living, but it's surviving.

This special pain I feel has become Life itself.


I don’t know for certain if this will ever end.


This poem is about: 
My family
My community


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