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The Cathedral

Father told me, when i was young, that his mother told him ‘if you can fit pinky to thumb around your wrist you are too thin’. When I managed to grasp my arm half way up, pinky to my thumb, I saw success. It’s hard to see sadness when you are sick. Mother taught me forgiveness was not earnt, but expected. So, when you lied to me I knew what I was to do next.


         The cathedral was on fire, but you still expected my best dressed attendance. 


At 16 mother told me ‘you are so beautiful’, her eyes glued on my empty dinner plate, my fingernail thinness and charcoal stomach. Encouragements of the etchings on skin, carved deep in. Skin something i did not want to belong in. Skin something I did not want touched. Hunger pains felt like a prize, pain is just an illusion, stuck under skin. Tangerine dreams of the boys who saw skin as something to be feasted upon, to be feasted within. 


Mother cleaned the drains, raking bunches of my hair from its rusted clutches, sewing the strands together in her hands, placing it on her head like a crown. At 13, you were the anti-christ, mother’s weren’t supposed to hit their children. At 16, I believed it, how could something from this earth survive all that poison? You saw the bottle as the only solution and I saw self-sacrifice as survival for my sins. You had to be the antichrist. Only Gods die for what they believe in. Only Gods die to spare others from their suffering. Only Gods bleed for their children. 


I woke up from that dream; the one where we’re flying above the roof rafters, and spilled my soul out onto the carpet. At 16, I heard evil breeds evil and I knew it skipped sister, so it had to be in me. I woke up from that dream; the one where you died and I threw myself into myself, Laced each day with brick heavy anger.. Why was I born wrong? 

   I am but a pained page in your story, one you can choose not to return to. You’re my whole book, burnt into retina, burnt into eardrum. 


Your relapses are nothing, but what can not be undone. 

But a sunken sun. The stars the only witness 

And the walls to the damage that had been done. 


Father told me that in life, there are worse things to come, that others had it worse and that mother, she couldn’t control the barrel, her body was the gun, he told me she didn’t mean to leave the shrapnel in me. 


Mother told me ‘memory is subjective’.

 Father told me ‘life wasn’t all bad’, both a question and statement.

How could I not be grateful? How could I not be glad?


             ‘Of course the cathedral is still on fire, but you can’t see past the flames to what is really there!’ 

                                   ‘And what is that?’ I asked my mother. 

                                   ‘The future’, she says.



◄ I still don't know if you're alive

driving with my mother ►


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