Today's poem is by Heather Derr-Smith


You were always so afraid. The loss you lived with
was too much. Maybe you were born with skin
that stung in the rain. Maybe the light hurt you
more than others. I sought you out, called gently
from my childhood self, like calling a cat home
from the dark woods, careful not to spook it,
hoping that you would come back to me,
come out of your dark, folded heart and just sit
beside me, reading a story I loved. But you stayed
hidden. Behind your open mouth, its teeth in the O
of anger, behind the shut lids of your eyes,
blistered by rage. The note from the woman you found
in your husband's pocket. The poem I wrote
about an old woman and you thought it was you,
it must be you, always you on some stake or rack—
because of course I had to be bad, something cold
born out of your womb, some ultimate betrayal. After all,
you did for me, nearly dying to birth me,
of course, I had to be a traitor. It was the only thing
you knew was real, the pain you felt, had to feel.

Copyright © 2017 Heather Derr-Smith All rights reserved
from Tongue Screw
Spark Wheel Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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