Saturday 12 June 2021

Conversations with my brother

by Emily House

What is actually said:

me: Do you remember that time when...?

him: No.

What I wish I could say:

That he doesn't have the power to hold onto all of those memories
Those awful, awful memories
While I do.
Maybe it is more powerful to be able to forget
Maybe I am the weak one for the memories on loop
The wide-awake nightmares where
I can hear myself scream NO
While the blows fall
And the words draw blood

Maybe it takes as much fortitude

To forget
As it does 
To remember.
To relive and learn how to be safe 
In my 

I cannot blame him for his quick and concise judgments of me then
Or now
It is how we were raised

In this house we
Criticize Emily
Dump our unexpressed emotions onto her
And devour their forced release
At whipping time

I did it, too
When the blows stopped
When 18 arrived
I stopped eating
I took all of my emotions that were too big
Finally, I knew they were too big
I learned it, Daddy! I see it now!
I took
All of my fears about the future
The unplanned future
This problem child can't have much of a future
And punished them

In this house we
Hurt Emily
Break her body and
Drink her tears


This isn't working anymore
And dying on the floor
Finally reaching that
Pit of despair
Losing my hair
And my mind
Is next

It's worth saving.

It's worth saving.

I'm worth saving.

What if I'm not 
Just a pile of rot
What if I wasn't a manipulative mastermind at the
Age of three
Using tears and fears
To control my parents' behavior
What if I wasn't a spoiled brat at the
Age of twelve
Wanting answers to questions like why
Are you talking about others like that
Why are you talking to me like that
When your job is to preach about Jesus why
Can't you be more like 


Why were the people in the psych ward softer
Than the people in the pews
And the pulpit?
Why did I think they weren't people? 
When clearly this IS where I belong?

Why are we all being treated as less than for trying to heal what is both more and less broken than society will allow?

In this house we
Heal Emily
honor emotions and her
Ability to hold them and her 
Ability to feel them with us, too


I'm here. 
I'm still here. 

* * * * *

"Conversations with my brother" was first published in Fictionaut.

Emily House is a writer and high school English teacher. She lives in Iowa with her family, whom she loves. When she isn't guiding young minds, her life revolves around words and emotions. She views poetry as a natural consequence of this and hopes her works bring healing and insight to all readers. 

1 comment: