You are used,
And your mother is shattered
She married sensibly once or so she thought.
No fear, no fire. No flight.
You have spent years at kitchen tables, eavesdropping,
funneling whispers from your auntie’s hushed words
Pretending to sleep in between bitter words and hands parting your hair with an afro comb.
Grease and contempt used to distract them from your tears
And unanswered questions
How did you inherit their shame? How did you inherit his guilt?
You grow older, you begin buying bras for yourself
Boy meets girl and you spend long summer nights on the phone when you shouldn’t
You touch bliss
It has been years since your dad left
Your mother still sleeps alone
Confusion is a pendulum
Soon your own brother begins to disappear
And you wonder
Do all the men eventually run away?
You grow colder, your tongue crueler,
A hard heart is less penetrable you decide.
In the end they all leave.
Laura is a black British-Caribbean girl living in London. A lover of the written word, she has written articles for publications such as; The Body Narratives and The Student Journals. She also writes poetry and short stories and is currently working on a children’s book. You can find her on twitter and wattpad.
Photograph by Petrose Tesfai, a 20 year old East African artist living in Toronto, Canada. You can find more of his work on his tumblr here.