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My house is a condemned building
with so many health violations
it should be shut down
terminated
But the pests have over run it so much
everyone is scared to face the problem

My father
turned Terminex away
at every visit with the therapist
he would laugh off problems
as if this were a bad joke
when it was his punchlines
that left the most damages

My father is the biggest
infestation my house has ever know
his lies were cockroaches
they crawled about our home
quietly
eating away the walls
until we couldn't tell the difference between
white paint and white lies
but their presence
was as loud
as ringing church bells
yet no one called for an intervention

Maybe we did though
every time we tried to drag him
to a family function
an event
the dinner table
where we'd say grace
and pray for things we'd never
be able to say to him

My father is so deep rooted to the parts of me
I flee from like spiders in a dark room
he is a web
an entanglement
a sticky situation
that wrapped around me until I
started to asphyxiate
on my own insecurities

Each of his broken promises
a termite
in a house made of wood
the floor I am standing on
is a shaky and decaying
surface
a crumbling effort to maintain
this disguise of a rotting
family

When a family becomes simply for show
what is it?

I imagine it is an old ant farm
he sits on his work desk
like a proud family photo
laughs at the glass container
of submission he tricked
my mother in to
when she said I do

When that submission cracked
like the glass bottles
he threw around the kitchen
when she said "No"
for the first time

I began to see pest
that lurked inside of him
they crawled about his face
like an angered bee hive
and they sat on his tongue
like a hissing cockroach as
he spit profanities and slurs at me
and my mother

we hold our heads high
my mother wipes up
her own blood as
I call the cops with a shaking hand
and the words barely escape
the spider web my father has spun
in the back of my throat

He flees like rat he is
when it is discovered in a place
he is not welcome

Now that my father is gone
the doors to my brother's heart have crumbled
like the flooring and
the mice have screwed everything up
the roaches have crawled in
the termites have made themselves at home
and it has started to decay

I become aware of this the first time
he pulls a knife on me
but I brush it off like a mosquito

the second time I try to talk him out of it
to coax the knife from
a gripped position
and the gears in my head
start spinning
like spiders and webs
And I see
the flickering of my father behind his eyes

and I am scared
that my house
has become infested
once again



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