Does this look like innocence?

I am microwaving Indian food for you, a favor among other favors I do when I feel guilty*. Washing your dishes. Taking your socks off. Holding the door.
Venturing in the basement to sit under fluorescents on the vinyl couch
while your food thaws.

*The guilt often
overwhelms itself.
Drifts so deeply into me
that it has to come up
some other way,
with some childish
need to hit and spit.

And in the evening, sometimes, when you aren’t around to dote upon, I take inventory of your artifacts, and excavate, peeking at your fossils**, and find:

  1. High school ID. 3 years past.
  2. Greeting card. Signed by a grandparent.
  3. Glassy-eyed photograph. Indiscernible girl within.
  4. Tin of Adderall. 10.5 pills total.

**They come from another life,
your fossils.
A life I am privy to
only in small stolen glances,
stories of
what you’ve brought
around the bend, thought worthy
enough to travel.
You once told me
a secret
about why you didn’t
bring anything to
remind you
of being a child.
And I won’t repeat it here,
but I will remember it.

I traverse the mountains of your notebooks, read the palm of your brain, deciphering your handwriting. You’ve been writing poems about me, and they aren’t love poems. So, I am bringing you nourishment and hoping you forgive*** me,
            beast that I am, with steaming paneer in its claws, begging amnesty for what you wrote that you can’t tell me; that I can’t tell you I know.
            I’m trying to cauterize it. Dam the rivers and douse the flame, work logic into the fist in my stomach. Mend with clay or gold poured into the cracked veins, wet and rework the damaged goods that lie around us.

***Here I am hoping, selfishly,
you will peek too far
through the crack
in my door
one of these
nights and see
me praying,
on rice stuck knees,
without words.
for a full stop,
for a pardon.
For you to
return the favor.

Sofia Catanzaro is a junior at Smith College, studying creative writing and film. She spends much of her time between Northampton, Massachusetts, and New York, where she was born. She is a two-time recipient of a Scholastic Art & Writing award, both for her poetry and her prose. She has been previously published in Rookie, Teen Ink, and The Fieldston LP. Her work primarily focuses on human connection, family, and the many forms that love can come in.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Does this look like innocence?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.