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The last time we argued
Was years ago
And one of the last times we talked.
You’re so heavy it made my knees buckle
Just to look at you.
I wonder who handed you that weight,
The dismal rucksack that you slung
Over your shoulder without question
And never put down;
Lugging it with you,
until the weight of it bent your back
Into a permanent uncertainty.

I can’t believe you chose it for yourself.
I can smell the poison festering in you,
That mass of black sludge
That hangs in the place
Where the left half of your heart should be
And permeates your skin
In a foul haze that stings my soul
To tears.
I know there’s something else
Just to the right.

Twice I’ve seen you
Bending over the kitchen sink,
Sobbing your laments into it,
Your broad back straining
To throw off the weight at last.
The last time we argued,
You became so enraged
That you threatened to kill

So I can’t even hate you.
You won’t allow me that.
I can’t condemn you more
Than you have;

And I have your eyes,
And a strong suspicion

You were hoping for a dare.


blackbank said…
I wondered who this was about, thought the construction was a good shape, the narrative intriguing and sad. BB
That's so painful to read and so beautifully written. As you said, guess you had to write it...
Dennis said…
I’m not sure if you were writing this about your father or mine. I was going to ask if you ever met him, but obviously you have. It’s amazing how fathers of a generation ago so willingly accepted the rucksack full of wounding, handed to them by their fathers – never questioning. And how the weight of it killed them slowly like cancer and everyone they should have loved. This is an amazing poem and it captures the archetypal wounded solider who is our father. This is beautiful and I don’t blame you for crying one bit!
I adore these lines:

"You’re so heavy it makes my knees buckle
Just to look at you."

The whole thing is worth it if only for that....
This was at once painful to read but also cleansing... we all know people like this in our lives and to write these words can be so healing.
really wonderful- thanks.
ecm said…
I liked some of your phrases specifically in the second stanza the rucksack on the back and the knees buckling. Very nice.
liz elayne said…
If I started to list all the lines that spoke to me as I read this poem, I imagine the entire poem would appear here in my comment.
You have captured something incredible here.

So glad you shared it and that you shared the tears that came as you wrote it. Yes, it needed to come out of you.
Poetry awakens and heals.
Clockworkchris said…
Pretty much agree with everyone-but I did not get the idea it was a father figure somehow. Every line is so powerful there is no way I could pick a favorite. I honestly think this is some of the best work I have seen from you, and I already thought you were one of the best poets participating. The whole idea of carrying a sack on your back full of pain that you choose not to let go of, esp one that belonged to someone else-I have been through that so many times-although I would never say I have been in those shoes the way you described in the poem. And lasty I just have to say, as liz and my shrink says-writing it gets it out and helps heal. The only reason I write everyday. Beautiful beyond anyone's words.
twilightspider said…
Wow. This is just incredible - both the emotion expressed here and the eloquent way in which you've done it. The lines that linger with me most:

"The dismal rucksack that you slung
Over your shoulder without question
And never put down;"
GeL said…
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GeL said…
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