Some memories aren’t as good as they are necessary

I’m not sure what this is. I wrote it that summer just after Chris pulled out of the cycle of addiction. He’d get clean here, and stay clean for three years before dying the way he promised he never would. It might be a song. I have no musical notes, only words. I’m not really a poet. So I’m not sure.

I found this today, while getting together some writing samples for a grant I’m applying for and, coincidentally (not) it echoes thoughts that have been sailing through my head for days. These things seemingly present themselves when we need them, but I know better. They’re all in there, just waiting to be called up.

Processing

You were drowning and I could not save you
Could not pull you from the waves
I grabbed, you slipped
The current pulled you down, stronger than I
Stronger than us.
Down and down and further away
A riptide in an unnatural sea, with all of nature behind it
Then that sea spit you out
Threw you up, out of the surf
To me, ready to drag you free, or drown with you
A dead weight, unable to breathe on your own
I breathed for you
I slapped your face
I brought you back
But I did not save you.

All those nights I held you in my arms and
listened to your stunted breath
Reveled in the heartbeat betraying lungs that couldn’t work
I held you and I cried
I held you and I raged
silently, so I would not wake you
Because that was even harder, knowing
the cycle of silliness and sleep to come
Of hunger and itching
Of biting cuticles and fingernails and rubbing at your face
To hear you tell me you are worthless, a fuck up, and that you love me so much
I deserve a better son
And that you should go away, disappear
So I wouldn’t have to worry
So I wouldn’t have a son like you
Anymore. Ever.
That hurt the most.
Even worse than the next day
When you hated me again, because you loved me so much
And I was that conscience the beast didn’t want you to have.

You couldn’t do it for me; you could only do it for you
And you weren’t worth the effort
All pain and shame and need
What did you have to live for? Who could you love?
Who could love you?
Somewhere in the haze, you knew the answer was me

And you hated how you clung to that
How you hated me
I was a horror, I was smothering
I loved a worthless nothing, so what did that make me?
I loved you when you raged
I loved you when you used
I loved you when you were like a baby again
Pleading to be held, to be loved, to be understood and loved anyway.

You couldn’t do it for me; you could only do it for you
And you weren’t worth the effort
All pain and shame and need
What did you have to live for? Who could you love?
Who could love you?
Somewhere in the haze, you knew the answer was, “Me.”

You were drowning and I could not save you
Could not pull you from the waves
I had to stand on the shore and watch you struggle
Breath held and heart racing
Every muscle tense and ready
For the moment you would reach for me
But you didn’t, as you shouldn’t have
You had to walk up that beach yourself
To stand in the dry sand and look back at your turbulent sea
And say, “Never again.”

surf

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14 Comments

Filed under poetry

14 responses to “Some memories aren’t as good as they are necessary

  1. God, Terri I don’t know what to say. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lynne Reive

    After I wipe the tears, no words. Just ((hugs)) and love…..❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dianamunozstewart

    Wow, beautiful, sad, and very powerful. So amazing that you would find this at exactly the time you needed it. Yep. The world works that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my God, this is so very gorgeous, Terri. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, just…wow. You are amazing. Chris was amazing. But most amazing of all is the phenomenal relationship you share. Hugs, hugs, hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

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