You Used to Be but Never Were

A Poem About the Severed Ties With Family

Graphic Joey Bruce

You’d say,
It’s best we keep our distance,
even if I shared with you my pain
And with any serious conversation,
you’d laugh at me, as if it’s sane

To think that now half of my life,
I’ve hid from you this vicious secret
In hopes that we’d save our bond
as flesh and blood, it’s inconvenient

You’d claim,
The truth hurts,
put on replay in my mind
Say that I’m too fat, too young,
too stupid and too blind.

But— Baba, you don’t even
listen to my voice,
I’d say,
you just tune it out every time.

I inherited crazy, it’s all in my head
projection is a skill that you’ve mastered well
How to shield yourself from your demons,
or how to praise Allah to keep you from Hell

But I gave, and I gave, and I gave;
until I simply had nothing left
There were only so many fake smiles
to mask the aching in my chest

from 1997:
You used to be my father
to 2009:
A stranger
in 2019:
I have none.

As former daughter, I’ll pay homage and say,
All due respect to your resignation,
I remind you for judgment day,
just because your hands are clean
doesn’t mean you’ve washed your sins away.

The truth hurts,
and good luck.