31st July, 2014

“Sunday night, Mama comes home late
and locks herself in the bathroom.
You spend the next hour outside it,
trying to push your heart through the gap
under the door, but only wind up
getting blood stains on the carpet.
You don’t know much about your mother
but you know she keeps her grandmother’s ghost
in the kitchen with all the good china.
You know she flinches whenever
people hug her from behind.
You’ve been grown a long time, now,
but you think that, sometimes, she can still feel
you pulling at her shirtsleeves
and you remember being put patiently to bed
with a glass of water you didn’t ask for.
You don’t know much,
because Mama never mentioned what it’s like
growing up in a home where monsters don’t live
under the beds or in the closets—
when they sleep in the bedroom next door.
Your mama, she never told you about all of that.
She didn’t want to hurt you.
You don’t know much,
but your father buys wine and she pours half
down the sink, when she thinks he isn’t looking.
And when you ask, he shakes his head—
“It’s just her way, honey.
It’s what she’s got to do.”
You’re older when you finally feel big enough
to ask her about it.
Thirteen when you tell her
he’s a gentle man, and that
you’ve never even seen him drunk.
She wears a look on her face like porcelain
against a hardwood floor
and wraps her skinny arms around you
(when did your mama get so small?)
“You don’t want to, baby, you don’t want to.
Men on the bottle aren’t like men, at all.”
It’s after you’ve turned eighteen
that she leaves for the funeral of a father
she’s never said a word about.
And you learn that not all fathers are like yours.
And you start to understand that not all broken homes
have broken windows.
That the cracked foundations can run so deep,
that the wood rots in the walls,
that sometimes the ghosts pour in,
and you never see them coming.
You never see it coming
at all.”

Chateau Blanc, by Ashe Vernon (via latenightcornerstore)

(via You Are a Far Distant Country)