boiling/water/memories | trembling/tongue | listen, girl | a poem

the only time my father was happy to be alive

was when he stood onstage

*

I was nowhere near him

*

I was part of everything

that he wanted cut off from himself

*

he hurt too much

and we hurt too much

one room couldn’t hold us all

*

my father was an escape-artist

past tense

I never knew which one of them

was my father

*

distance can be an act of reconciliation

*

you didn’t want to hear me speak

and I don’t want to hear you speak

*

I’ve endured your monologues

I reclaim my words

and you learn to live with your silence

*

I revisit your violence

and confront our images

language comes back to me

and I let it live now

I let it come out now

I let it take over my body now

to step out of the corner

that you forced me into

and I make my peace with the fact

that this is real

*

who is this man

who wanted me to be born

who wants to tear me to pieces

*

as a girl I was taught to shut my mouth

as a girl I was taught to let things happen to me

as a girl I was taught that there was nothing to enjoy

nothing to endure

I just needed to be present, my body just needed to be present

and absent at the same time, myself, absent, absent-minded

nothing is happening

but I need to be quiet

and shut my mouth

why

if there’s nothing to tell

*

I endure my father’s unlived life

My own drawing © Laura Gentile 2021 | Instagram: @melpomenepaintings

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