Affliction Vs Apathy

You always preferred a clean kitchen.

I watch out the window as day slips

on her black dress and begins to flirt

with the evening sky.

I wonder what you’d think now, if you

were here to see the way bottles line

every surface.

I have placed them in straight lines, at

least, and I know you would appreciate

the juxtaposition. You always did care

for order. For a standard of perfection I

could only ever trail behind.

There is quite a lot of them now.

135, to be exact.

One for every day since we last spoke.

One for every day since you ceased to

exist to me.

I use the corks to plug the bullet holes in

my heart you left to bleed; you’d think I’d

have known better than to allow a fully-

automatic weapon like you into my house.

But slow learning runs inside my veins; the

legacy of women who have come before

me still trying to prove they are worthy of

the love of a father who only ever wanted

a son.

The last yellow light settles in the kitchen.

The bottles capture it, throw patterns on

the wall.

One day I will have enough glass

to crush these bottles into sand and I will

fill my house with ashes of you; squelch

it between my toes and imagine myself

on the holiday we always planned but

never took.

The one we said we’d spend days on

the beach absorbing alcohol and sun,

and nights we’d spend fucking against

walls, against doors, against the apathy

we swore would never be found beneath

the layers of our skin.

I wish it had been apathy that had caused

our destruction; a silent cancer that would

have sucked the marrow from our bones

until we’d have had nothing left to care

with, and could have just faded inside our

voiceless grief. Instead our graves lie

scrawled with the blood of the rampage

that had lain dormant inside you for long

enough, buried beneath the ocean of

sorries that never quite reached your

eyes. You always held rage inside you;

a force of nature that could never be

anticipated or predicted.

You always told me it was my fault.

I started to believe you.

Bottle 136 rests in my hand.

I let it fall to the ground and watch it shatter.

The glass is not soft like sand, but pointed

and jagged, like the eggshells that would

cut my feet whenever you were near.

I press my toes into the glass.

Blood trickles onto the floorboards and

I am relieved to find I am alive, after all.

Perhaps affliction is better than apathy.

I tell the walls you are dead to me.

They still whisper your name.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker ~

The Unravelled Heart, a profoundly true reflection on trauma, abuse, love, loss and healing, now available worldwide on Amazon

Day Twenty-Six #poemadayfeb: Fear

I never used to be scared of the dark

but the walls gather close around me

and steal my breath into their porous

lungs and I am shrinking, shrinking in

this place that leaves me trying to fix

my collapsed chest with handfuls of

scarcity. The night goes too long and

I’m not sure whether I am more afraid

to sleep or not sleep; either way I am

forced into combat against fears I try

and defeat yet I’m held defeated, and

inside these six degrees of separation

you still remain the one thing in this

world I can never seem to reach.

Do you remember the day you left?

You asked when I was going to let you

love me.

I don’t need you.

I don’t need you.

I don’t need you.

Still I keep the porch light on, just incase.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker // Fear ~

Day Twenty-Six #poemadayfeb: Fear

Day Twenty-Five #poemadayfeb: Sound

I closed the door behind me

and in that moment I heard

my self-worth as it echoed

down to my daughters and

granddaughters and nothing

was ever so beautiful as the

sound of that final goodbye.

Day Twenty-Five #poemadayfeb: Sound

Day Twenty-Four #poemadayfeb: Time

And you. You are the only thing I know about consistency. Like the ink written upon my skin, I close my eyes and trace you by heart and your lines never waver even when my hands refuse to hold steady. I have spent our first act learning you; by heart, by feel, by muscle memory, until the patterns of your DNA lay seamless alongside mine. No more could I know the sound of your breath against me than the sky could know the sound of the wind as it draws across the horizon. This is how I have come to know you; that I feel you there even when evidential proof falters before my eyes. That the metronome of your heart beats synonymously with mine.

We leave behind us wakes of time that fall too fast between our fingers; a second act of stories written with the blood we have sacrificed for our legacy. Volumes of sacred words we refuse to speak out loud but instead scrawl upon pages and vow never to forget; our sonnets, our creeds, our prayers. All the while pretending not to hear the sound of the second hand that pounds inside our chest like a bomb; our hearts in lockdown to protect ourselves from that of which we never can.

The closing act: Everything tastes like goodbye.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker // Time ~

Day Twenty-Four #poemadayfeb: Time

Day Twenty-Three #poemadayfeb: Sonnet

I fling the light from behind my eyes

As an offering to the star-filled night

Veiled in the affliction of my demise

May darkness take captive my sight.

That I cannot see the sorrow of grief

Just one night free from these thorns

Blood abandons my side with no relief

How wearily my wasted heart mourns.

Sleep is aloof in these arms of regret

She comforts me like a cheap whore

The barren hours won’t let me forget

Shattered pieces I can never restore.

But when this broken night is through,

My love, may I be no more lost to you.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker // Sonnet for the Sleepless ~

Day Twenty-Three #poemadayfeb: Sonnet

Day Seventeen and Day Eighteen #poemadayfeb: Weather + Unspoken

I have found that truth lies in the spaces between the words: the cracks in the pavements we tiptoe over, as if we are afraid of seven years bad luck, afraid to break our mother’s back, afraid of what honesty will do, or undo, in the lives we have so carefully swathed with our own language so fluent in things of the weather. Unspoken words get caught in our throat; we choke on their sharp edges and spit them back onto our plates and instead satiate our fear of the silence with words soaked in honey that are swallowed with ease; malnourishing ourselves with empty calories and all the while wondering why we never feel complete. I wonder if this is why some of us like to chew on metaphors; here we can taste truth without saying truth, here we can walk on the cracks without falling through and I think that’s the only way some of us will ever feel safe. Maybe that’s all our lives really are anyway; a metaphor, an analogy, a parable. Maybe none of this is real, maybe we are all just the same stories spoken to new generations. Maybe we are nothing more than a social experiment, Big Brother, watched and scored and already lost to government control and maybe freedom is nothing more than illusion and the last person standing, wins. Maybe you no longer love me. Maybe we have come too unstuck to hold together anymore. I look at you and want to speak these things out loud, I want to tell you how I think I’m sinking into the deepest part of myself and can’t find the way out. But your eyes are fixed on the afternoon sun as it comes through the window that faces west towards the ocean so I watch fallen leaves scatter at the kiss of the wind and hear the sound of the currawong calling in the distance. You note the shifting light; perhaps the change of season is close, you wonder, and I reply, perhaps it is.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker // Unspoken ~

Day Seventeen #poemadayfeb: Weather + Day Eighteen #poemadayfeb: Unspoken