I had a dream that she stopped loving me.
The sky was pretty when she sent me away,
not a tear from the clouds, who were braver than I,
but I left an ocean on her shoulder,
my claws deep in the flesh of her palm as they pulled me from her and down into the abyss.
I didn’t mean to be a monster.
I spent so long keeping myself at bay,
but the truth is full of terror, and it tears it’s way out of well meaning skin eventually,
and then, you become a monster.
It’s not her fault.
Nobody wants to have a monster as a daughter,
but she does,
and now I dream about her looking at me as I do.
I wake in tears,
wondering if she lies when she says that she loves me as I am.
It was just a dream.
It was just a dream,
but a monster still stares back from the mirror.
she was my alarm,
loud lullabies at the wrong time of day,
her voice following the melody of the clattering kitchen as I followed the smell of toast to the table.
She had my school tie in her hands,
throwing it to hands that were too tired to catch as her wife watched the whole scene unfold from behind the pages of a broadsheet.
Dark tresses descended down the back of her garishly bright dressing gown,
and she sipped, through painted lips, at strawberry milkshake as she prepared more breakfast than her family could ever consume.
A gargling infant on her hip, harmonising with her nonsense morning medley,
she was a strange sight,
to anyone but us.
I was an early birthday present,
presented after the fog of the anaesthetic had fallen away,
tiny hands reaching for the only friend I had known, in the nine months I had been baking,
longing for the fond familiarity of a mother’s mighty embrace.
The blessed daughter of the vernal equinox,
to be born of your light was a blessing.
Today, no gift would ever be enough,
for all that you have given,
but I will try.
My father was a man of few words and a man of many drinks,
losing the will to love somewhere around my mother’s second trimester,
and maybe it’s my fault,
for forsaking my sense for sentiment,
writing off his rage as just a temporary temperament,
saving the day with some new excuse,
letting my soul be used,
until there was nothing left.
I had a wild heart, once upon a time,
bound never to be broken,
but he drank it dry,
like every bar he entered,
every second he chose to be the centre of,
afraid that if he wasn’t loud and alive in my lucid moments,
that he would simply stop existing.
He wrote me a letter once,
weak willed and wading in weasel words,
a “can I speak to the manager” kind of meandering thing,
as if a daughter is a darling that can be managed,
as if I could adjust myself to his liking, on top of all the other things I was handling,
and I wrote back,
just as weak,
meek and hopeful.
There was a monster in the sky,
according to the shivering boy underneath my bed.
He had scrambled under,
his little legs kicking against the carpet as if it had sent the shocking scenes to the stars above him,
his whole body shaking as tears trickled down his pale, perfect face.
I followed him down to the darkness,
taking his hand tightly,
and I just waited,
holding the wailing boy close to my chest until he could hear my heartbeat,
so that he knew I would protect him until it stopped pulsing.