Perhaps the most terrifying moment of my life
was the discovery of my parents’ fallibility,
when my father ceased to be a hero and
my mother a queen and
something vile and cruel writhed in my throat,
something they could not vanish,
something they could not eviscerate
with militaristic commands and gentle coaxing,
for this was not a monster under the bed,
this was not an over-zealous imagination;
this was real, this was growing deep
into their daughter’s bones.
And I saw them, finally, as they really were,
stripped of the golden armor
of childhood naivety that had given them
immunity to the failures of humanity
in my too-wide, too-innocent eyes.
My father aches for control,
craves it in the softness of his
He doesn’t know how to be without;
he is a scared, small man
who doesn’t realize that his hands
are made for destruction,
made for ripping out hearts and
crushing them into dust.
My mother is a child,
with an unnecessary temper
that could rip teeth out of the skull.
She fears change,
fears it like death,
and she has reached the end
of growth in the middle of her life.
These were my beginnings,
these are what I have stemmed from,
and I love them, I do;
I love them with the decaying tenderness
that is owed to them,
that will weather over time,
for it is the stone and they are the sea,
and the ocean is unyielding,
even to the frailty of the human heart.
I love them in a different way than I did once-
no longer god-fearing and awed,
but the love of camaraderie,
of those trying to scrape by,
of those trying to make it out alive.