the memory of the heart
it’s late at night when my mind and heart are vulnerable to old words spoken.
words that were jumbled together any way you like, but always say the same thing.
“i reject you.”
“you are unwanted.”
“you are unloved.”
these stupid words from a person who has no memory of speaking them, they can stick around like burs, growing years and years older.
i look my child in the face after apologies have been made, after i’ve come to my senses.
i keep my distance out of respect for their person, out of fear with the knowledge of the damage a parent can do.
i look in their eyes and say this –
“what did i say that hurt you the most?”
they look away.
they stare at a spot up there on the ceiling.
and you know what?
there has always been something. every time.
and they repeat it back with eyes full of this question –
“is this true about me?”
i hear the words said aloud again and i bear their weight and the responsibility.
this is no vague apology, child. i will stare right at my wrong against you, sweetest one, and i will say the only thing i can say.
no. no, that’s not true.
that is a lie.
i was so, so wrong.
can you forgive me? and if these words come back, you can tell me if you want and i’ll tell you again how wrong i was and how loved you are.
so before those words grow too old tonight, let me pry off the burs that you can’t see, but are there.
let me tell you new words before the sun sets another night.