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Ross, Audrey, All Good Things, Part 3 – Family

ROSS, AUDREY

Audrey Ross
Age: 14, Grade: 9

School Name: Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, New York, NY
Educator: Jake Wizner

Category: Poetry

All Good Things, Part 3 – Family

Names
I see my mother walk through the door
Dragging her groceries behind her
She walks over to the table and
Mutely drops a stack of paper envelopes and
Magazines
Onto my father’s
Desk.
I see him pick each paper up
And rip his name off
Before throwing them into the garbage
Each one and then
Shred them.
 
You never know who goes through the garbage
 
I remember my
Ten year old hands
Sometimes trying to piece his names back together
But it seemed
Impossible
 
I used to think
That I had the best father
In the whole wide world
For
Keeping me
So
Safe

Adam
Adam is the one who
Comes straight to hug me when he gets home
But he also is the one who calls our father a monster
Says he has enough
To get a restraining order
 
I wonder
How this hatred
Grew from nothing to
Wrap around our hearts
How this anguish
Can only
Increase
How our fear
Seems to never
Cease
How I
 
Seem to be
 
Stuck
In place
 
Forever

What to say
My father
Well,

Swallow back your tears

I
I guess
It all first started
A little more than a few years ago
After the
The love and the care
He poured into me
I guess
I used it all up
So when there was nothing more
I guess it began
 
Tilt your head to the sky
 
I have a memory
Adam and I

We’re eating
Pretzels
Our mom
Having shook the salt off them
Adam steals a pretzel from my napkin
I run
I was really fast back then
I run to him
Daddy
Adam took my pretzel
And
This is the part
 
Don’t panic
 
He comes up behind Adam
Almost like he’s going to tickle him
And
After
I remember seeing the
Short
Red scratches
From his nails
On Adam’s chest and stomach
Roars
Give her back the pretzel
Give it back
GIVE IT BACK
 
Don’t picture it
 
I remember
Adam’s choked up sobs from
Saliva stuck in his throat
I remember
Running
Taking my pretzels and going to eat them
By the nightstand
In the guest room
My pretzels were
Wet
From
My tears
 
Shhh
Be quiet
 
It’s okay 

In between
I have
Flashes of pictures in
My head
Little
Memories I
Piece together
To create a story
 
Here’s a picture
 
Adam standing
Curled up
Crying
Almost
Sounds like coughing
Groaning
Hysteria
Naked
 
Where are his clothes?
 
Look at this one
 
My father
Ripping off
A shirt
Torn underwear
In his hand
Adam
Fighting
Against him
Wailing
Give me back
My clothes
Give them
Give me
back
my
 
clothes
 
One more
 
Me standing in the doorway
Brendon in his bed
Facing the wall
Adam
And
My father
Are in the stairwell
Yelling
My mouth is open
 
What am I saying?
 
How could
You let this wash past you
Do you not realize what is
Happening
 
Our happy family
Is gone
Long gone
And you
Don’t see
You’re so
So
 
Blind

I love you
He says
It’s not about the love
 
That grips you that
Terrorizes your heart
 
Not about its tacky sticky fingers
Pulling you down into the loop of
Waiting for her to get home
 
He says it’s about
The plan
The bargain
The interaction
 
But I say to myself
Wait
Hold on
 
This is not about        
Before
Or after
This is about what
What is happening
 
I thought that my family was
Brilliant and
So unique
Because my parents said they
Loved each other
But maybe it’s worse
 
Because she can’t see
When he yells at her
 
He can’t see when she says
Those things
 
That this is not brilliant
 
This is not unique
 
This
 
Is not love