The Crown of 21: A Poem

She was out of town…

Away and far aflung and it was the Summer–

The new plague ran rampant across the land of fear;

And I went back to the playpen of denial I her absence….

Free to be a child again to “deal” with the fear–

…and tuning out the world.

For a whole month I lived alone in a limbo of binging;

Both in paralyzed observation of an electric box and inane nonsense

And in tranquilized non-existence as I faced an empty tomb of a house.

It closed around me like the tentacles

Of Lovecraft’s Elder Gods

And began it’s slow crush of my soul…

I mastered “Hide and Seek” that Summer;

She would call and I would snap out of my stupor and Hide…

While she sought the affection and connection with a husband

And craved it so inside.

He wasn’t there, both in body, but more than that…

In any kind of spirit or devotion. Only to the numbness was he loyal.

I also mastered “Chutes and Ladders” with the kids I was to protect..

As they saw me climb high to make sure each day they had their needs met and given;

While at night I had MY needs slide down the Chutes, “WHOOPEE!” into a drunken abyss;

Then–“Hey son,” I said….after riding the chute too hard;

“Does this look bad—I slipped”. Wiping the blood pouring from my eye.

Remembrance is gone for anything else

Other than for shame;

Other than his humiliation…

That he bore his drunk dad’s name;

That he had to drag his toddler of a father

To the hospital for his coronation;

Of 21 stitches—and a diaper change for the occasion.

“It was just an accident” I lied…

Ask my mask fell off filled with blood;

And tears—and regret-and selfishness…

And as I watched him hang his head, observing me in the chair of honor;

Getting sewn up—I wanted to die.

Forgiveness is a long word…and an even longer time.

Repentance is just as long; and sacrifices time.

Deceit is a much shorter word

But cuts like the sharpest knife;

Especially when your children, who  you protect

In turn have to save your life…

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