Cracks in the Tile

By , Leonia, NJ
Mami.
Mami, look at me, please.
Stop staring at the rain running tear tracks on the glass,
And notice mine instead.
I’m sorry that I said that, Please, please.
I take it back, I take everything back,
If only you could turn to me and say:
“I understand.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“I still love you.”
But instead,
You stay there.
Cold and unmoving,
I can feel my pulse stop beating,
And I’ve ceased breathing,
My legs shaking,
My nerves stringing taut.
Any word you say
Having the power to
Shatter my mind and destroy me.
I can’t feel the floor beneath my feet,
And suddenly the kitchen that we stand in is gone,
Replaced with a war zone, with hands around my throat,
Shackles on my ankles and a gun at my head,
And your fingers on the trigger.
I can feel the bullet in my skull, even though the safety’s still on.
My heart heavy as I wait for the executioner
To let the handle go, and for the blade to slice my head off,
Spraying my blood across the ground,
A graffiti,
Staining the pure history of my ancestors.
A failure, a stone around my family’s neck,
Forever reminding them of what I did, what I am.
The flash of lightning, the wind raging just beyond the window brings me back.
The tile is under my feet, the grooves like spider webs,
Sharp beneath my skin.
Just by feeling, I can remember.
Remember how I had dropped a toy truck once, eons ago,
The heavy piece fracturing the cheap flooring.
The memory leaving a burning behind my eyelids,
Leaving the bitter taste of a comfort long forgotten.
Your statue has moved, now.
Facing me.
Your expression is hard, brutal,
And I am no longer your daughter, but a stranger.
An intruder in your home who does not belong, unwelcomed.
And over the thousands of faces and looks you’ve given me, this is the first of its kind.
A look given to offending neighbors and threatening outsiders.
I am ashamed, even though I shouldn’t be,
Even though I have done nothing wrong,
And I wish you would just shoot me already.
Mami.
Mami, say something, please.
The air is thick, the tension thicker.
The calm before the storm,
Waiting
Waiting
Waiting.
And then the storm arrives so fast, surprising me and leaving me vulnerable.
Your features blank, your voice flat
As the pistol goes off, the slug hitting my chest,
I can almost hear the shot.
My lungs broken and I can’t breathe,
Can’t scream as I choke on my own blood and disgrace,
As I’m knocked flat on my back,
By the words you fired at me.
I’m disappointed.
But I know what you meant by hate in your eyes.
I’m disappointed in you.
The look on my face doesn’t bother you at all,
As you walk out of the room,
Leaving my soul dying on the floor,
Me standing still next to it.
And as it gasps and withers,
I think that if only I had kept my mouth shut,
Then maybe you would still be here.
I’m so sorry.
Mami.
Please.





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