Then and Then
Where were you the first time you looked at me
and saw yourself in my face?
You told me you were living your life over through me.
You told me I would be the death of you
I stand beside your bed waiting, waiting
for you to draw your last breath
Knowing I have come home too late. I am dead to you already.
We share consecrated Sundays
fishing in our secret spot near Toppins pier
No one found us there. No one looked.
I baited hooks. You smoked.
I force myself to bring my face to your mouth and inhale your breath
I watch you sleep. Your bloated flesh is the color of creek scum
Finally I speak the unsaid words.
I’m home, Mama. I’m sorry.
I wanted more from life than croakers and soft shelled crabs
I wasn’t your shadow or your savior
Mama, I ran away from you long before I left