Doing The Blood Work
1. The Inheritance
Most family truths lie audibly unsaid
and I, a child who probed to no avail,
learned any who could answer me were dead.
For years, through dimming hope lit by bright dread,
I staggered alone along abandoned trails,
till I ceased caring. Then of course, news came. Unsaid
though, any testament except half-lies, spoon fed
by two half-brothers, new-found, who wore my smile.
I cared again. Yet they were true sons of our undead
father, who’d rutted my mother in a ghostly bed.
A secret child, to father and sons, required denial
of what they dared not know. Still, truth’s unsaid
the whole world over; everyone has bled
their part; how else but numb can the heart prevail?
So my twice-lost half-blood kin claimed, dead
to untold truths from which lifelong they’d fled.
Many die out their days this way and will
their children’s truths in turn to lie unsaid.
But I’m done caring who lies living, who lies dead.
2. Not By Halves
Do two half brothers make one whole?
I thought they might. I thought
this meeting, late in life, was like a minor miracle.
I’d learn so many things! But not what I expected.
One brother, middle child, stalks his life
famished for the father he disappointed
despite all he tried. So he beat ploughshares
into swords, grew sons who are religious warriors.
The other, the youngest, our father’s favorite,
reenacts the tearless manhood he’d learned
so well, emotions stored inside as citadel despite
his music’s artistry that blurred my seeing him for tears.
Civilized, intelligent, educated men, neither
was prepared for the elder sister whose existence
they’d discovered decades earlier and had
pursued but briefly, fearful and half-hearted.
Our father dead now, everyone spoke earnestly
at first, through bad translation. But his ghost rose
and walked, reminding his sons they’d been taught
secrets, half truths, denials, rationales. It took some
years to raise my old scars by these new means,
but in good time, livid, the wounds ran fresh.
It’s necessary to relearn trust
before one can relearn betrayal.
The distance with the older already formal,
that fracture was less painful. The younger, a performer,
promised more than he decided to deliver, though.
His children we can leave in charitable silence.
It’s calmer now they’re gone
and I’m an only child again.
Their absence is as normal as my father’s was
Now all is wept and done,
stains of our personal blood libel rinsed
off by a family history engraved on water.
They were always their father’s sons
I was always my mother’s daughter.
Photo by Jorge Gardner on Unsplash