A History of it in the Family
Eyes aglaze in the morning rush,
suspended in thought, I stare
through the window of the car,
Adrift in this diffused glare
of the green traffic light,
I am too absorbed to go through.
I have scaled life's stair to this rung
where my mother stopped, doubting
she could continue on,
Collapsing right there in a slump,
bent half-over from the fear
of seeing their before her
In the shape of her father on the stairs---
his grim infirm slouch, praying
she would not follow after
To where the ghost of him stood,
starless and fearful even at that height
that he still could not see God.
How old was she then when she descended
back down, stumbling
over words she would choke on,
As she spoke of her life, regressing
to the gestures of a child,
spiraling through the years
To where it all started, a girl lost
at the bottom landing, turning
with a face flushed in tears,
"My father", she said, "would sit in a chair
drunken fits of silence
so steep he did not notice me there",
"Standing in that immense air of depression,
where only mother would speak, breaking
the silence like a bird of premonition"
"He thought his life a loss", she said
"alone, and given up, he abandoned
every hope I was the love of".
Was it then she bit her tongue
and folding back her limbs, buried
every white flower in her mouth,
Extinguishing actions like words
she withdrew by lantern, alone
to the cavernous echoes of her soul.
Is this is my inheritence, this brooding trait,
this inherent sadness that states
I am sole heir
To my family's flawed heirloom
of depression, passed down
in an ambry of gene.
This shell of a man, host
to its genetic strand,
its rogue chromosome
That looks back from the mirror---
like these hands once thought mine
seeming now to have always been yours.
Copyright © john tansey | Year Posted 2013
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