Never Called Son
I was a middle child,
the middle of three unwanted children
Our mother was English, an actress,
who had the misfortune of
loving our father, who abandoned us
We were all partitioned out to
whoever would take a toddler or an infant
when our mother died. Yes, our mother
had chosen very poorly.
I was a ward of a couple who traded slaves,
a couple who never adopted me,
never called me son.
I was an interloper, spoiled one minute,
mistreated and harshly disciplined the next.
According to my master's whims. His wife
was silent, she did not care, she was not my mother.
My first book of poems was like me.
Nameless. I actually made sure the
by-line did not have a name. I treated it
with contempt, a contempt I understood.
I did not belong to anyone. The book
was like me, un-named, un-claimed, lost.
It did not do well. I continued living on
my five dollars a week salary.
At 27, I laid with my 13-year-old cousin.
We call this child abuse now; in 1836, it
was called marriage. She belonged to me.
I was no longer alone.
My wife passed before she was 30; at least
she lived long enough to see one of my poems
published and positively received. It was
different, interesting, to readers, macabre.
I died at 40; causes unknown.
Possibly because no one cared enough
to find out what finished me. Some said heart
disease, others suicide, some cholera, others
What matter? I was dead wasn't I?
Dead, as the raven in my story, dead
and gone, forevermore. It seems
peculiar now that I matter more today
than I did when I was alive.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2018