leaky roof

Tony Danza 1980’s

soft pink sweater and white pearls

plastic pumpkins makeshift wind chimes clanking against each other in the early Autumn breeze

I have a rocky relationship with the truth

I couldn’t lie for her

so she had to go away

or I had to go away

denial bubbles are made of shatter-proof glass

broken mirrors

Chinese food

microwave stains

a mug of vinager

two minutes

boxed fan woosh-woosh-whirrrrll

bleach and cinnamon

“I love you,” he says

before he hangs up the phone

“I love you,” he said

September 19th 10PM, answering machine, 2009

I stared at the TV

the little girl next to me stared at my eyes

She was 12

and she knew what 50 and 70 did not

little girls with pudgy cheeks who listen to sad songs and gasp at sexual assault poems

she grew into a mess

not up, just out

no, not out

in

she grew in

she grew inward

I loved her

when she was gone, I loved her

I still love her

I hope someone is loving her

I hope she has people to love

I was there the day she was born

I was there the day she went to kindergarten

birthdays

holidays

church plays

She came home from school crying because of what ‘they’ said

she cried for hours

they talked, everyone else, setting the table

“Where is she?”

“What’s wrong?”

Pouting. Dramatic. Attention-seeking. Whiney. Wimpy. Get over it.

I went over and sat down and she didn’t want me to sit down

“They’re idiots,” I said. “I hated them too. A few years from now, they won’t exist anymore.”

She cried and cried and cried.

Sweet girls with sad eyes don’t have sad eyes because they enjoy having sad eyes,

you can’t fake that kind of hurt

I think about her sad eyes, when I think about plastic pumpkins and cheap dollar store Christmas tree garland,

birthdays

holidays

pencils

big yellow school buses

regrets are persistent little jerks

failures

shortcomings

I wish I could have done more

I wish I could have said more than “I know. It sucks. I’m sorry. It’ll get better.”

Truth is, I don’t know if it got better

and I didn’t know it would get better

I just knew it got better for me

and I hoped it would get better for her

the adult in me says, it’s not too late to fix what’s unfixable

this is tiny

it looks so LARGE

but it’s tiny

but it looks so large

it looks like the catastrophic end of the world

like ink stains on a white blouse

like a useless, helpless, hopeless mess

the adult in me says, it’s not too late

the better me says, pick up the phone, that’s all it takes

the rest of me unplugs it and puts in a DVD

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