I wasn’t as pretty as my sister.
Wearing glasses, awkward and tall, I was invisible
as I cleaned up after my mother’s parties, the stench
of stale beer and full ashtrays tickling my nose.
Once, I saw stars when she hit me,
something I’d said or didn’t say.
She ran for a washcloth. “Don’t tell anyone,” she said.
We never told, and I didn’t ask ‘Mother, may I?’
when I turned seventeen and left,
my sister, pregnant at sixteen, on her own journey.
and my baby sister, alone.
My mother was a beautiful, charismatic woman who drank too much. Her life was chaotic, as was mine, in and out of foster homes, until at seventeen, my aunt invited me to live with her and go to college. Everything changed. The only surprise? The anger this poetry prompt brought, even though she and my sister died years ago, and my own wonderful daughter doesn’t quite understand why sometimes I flinch.
You can visit OctPoWriMo at http://www.octpowrimo.com/ to read what others have written. Thank you, Morgan Dragonwillow, Michelle Vecchitto, Esther Jones, and Maria L. Berg for hosting this month-long poetry challenge.