a borderline mother



I don’t trust myself right now

your words from seven years ago

still echo in my head, but

I haven’t trusted you since –


you gave me a key to your safe

in a grocery store parking lot

then checked yourself into that

psychiatric ward across town

(and I was left clutching the key

to all your fine jewelry and cash,

the PI’s photos of Dad’s cheating,

your last will and testament)


you took me on a trip upstate

to visit friends, and we came

home to my brother gone –

sent to a school for “troubled boys”

(and I was left to clean out his

room, with half-crushed pills on

the desk, condoms in the drawer,

mary jane and a bong in the closet)


you took a handful of pills and

decided to sleep forever, but instead

you woke up three days later and

kept on living like it was normal

(and I was left to cover for you when

you were sleeping, when you left me

alone with Dad, when you tried to

leave me alone with him forever)


you walked in on me showering

yelling at me to show you what

I was hiding– to get out and

show you my wet, naked body

(and I was left shaking, crying

under water because in this house

nowhere is safe, and even when

you’re an adult, that doesn’t change).


Get out you crazy bitch!

my words from two weeks ago

still echo in my head, and

I haven’t trusted myself since.

Thumbnail image by Walker Smith.