You wrote your pattern on my soul
and carved my heart into a bowl
punctured to catch the esoteric
and let drain all the hysteric
words and anger loosed at night
when at last they came to light
let flow by that spirit’s brew
that turns you into more than you.
Friends found it quizzical at best
that you would be the one to wrest
my heart from back there on the shelf
where I’d stored it in myself.
It is a virtual mystery—
this how I found the you in me
that let me fold myself away
when your mother held her sway,
invading you with anger that
you loosed on me, like tit for tat.
Thus parents birth the very beast
that is what turns out to be least
of what their children might have wanted.
And it leaves us shamed and daunted
to see within ourselves what we
never thought could ever be
passed down from mother unto son
so that when her day was done
she could live on in infamy
through what he’d learned at mother’s knee.
And likewise, I have come to be
what my father passed to me,
retreating in the dark of night
to avoid mother’s bark and bite.
It is as though our parents battled
while we skulk, puzzled and addled
in those parts where when we dare
we perfectly convene to share
those parts of us fully our own
where our natures, fully blown,
meet in a more playful vein
over matters less inane.
The crux of it is this, my dear:
when you rage and bite, I fear,
retreating to another place
where I do not need to face
those dictums passed down by your hands
when you fire off your demands.
At heart, I know it isn’t you.
You’ve merely dropped the other shoe.
The first was one your mother dropped.
It was the second one that plopped
off your foot. Then I sneaked in
to nudge it from where it had been
to hide it underneath the bed
so later, with a clearer head,
we might be who we really are
without those shadow sides to mar
what we know in reason’s glare.
We are the perfect damaged pair!