Unsent Letter

Mother,
I’ve not always loved you the way a son should;
I’ve choked on your name, roiled your bones.
            Spurn has grown like weeds in my chest, a greenhouse
            rotted, curses burrowed like worms under wet rock.
I’m the graft you forgot was growing, the flicker of a light
            you tried to pinch out with your index finger and thumb;

Sometimes I feel it’s easy for you to misremember;
            you found a husband, a chef with blonde curls
            and a religious edge – I smelled his aftershave,
            felt his razor inch up my neck and give me slick
            burns in late mornings and early afternoons.

            I found the wrenching smell of salt and piss
            from the stains soaked through my pants
            and the curl of his lip that said anger,
            the push at the top of the stairs that said fall,
            the fists bouncing off my liver that said break.

Sometimes, it’s too easy for me to forget the dry-heave
            and vomit, the week-long period you spent sleepless
            and awake, because there wasn’t any version of
                                                                        sorry
            that could comfort you after I finally told you
            what was happening, after you watched me
                                                                        break.

Sometimes it’s been easy for me to take this out on you,
the blinding numb anger, the thrashed resentment and ripped words.
            I’ve easily forgotten how many times you’ve told me
            you’d rather have died, that you just want me to forgive.

Sometimes, I don’t understand why I still can’t.
I don’t know why there are still weeds growing in my chest,
            the worm under the rock, the greenhouse rotten,
            the small light on the tip of your fingers after the candle dies.

A native of Northern Maine, Tyler Gadaire is a 23-year-old graduate of the Univ. of Maine Farmington’s Creative Writing and English program. Tyler’s poetry has been published in The Sandy River Review, Z Publishing’s Emerging Writers series and Asterism. In between the writing, reading and playing of poetry and music, Tyler is currently working on a draft of his first poetry chapbook.

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