I always knew this day would come.
I just didn’t think it would be so soon,
or from such an objector.
But I guess no one likes to have their truth
chewed up and spat back at them.
My granny called me late last night and huffed,
“I don’t need you writin’ ‘bout me no more!” –
the martini on her breath
coming in strong across three state lines.
She’d found that particular poem of mine,
about a year after I’d posted it,
and had to work (and drink) herself
up to this for god knows how long.
She must’ve changed seats from recliner to sofa
to rocking chair to see how it would sit with her –
dragging her bum leg and two iron knees behind her,
waddling precariously with every heavy step,
trying to get a different perspective
on a new subject that somehow snuck into
her house unchanged for nearly twenty years.
My directness, my confrontation,
was novel for her – someone who’d
spent her entire life keeping quiet,
biting her tongue, holding grudges,
internalizing her pain to avoid becoming a bother,
always allowing others’ demons to possess her.
She’d pray that her sacrificial silence could
glue her cracked family back together again –
just like one of her beloved keepsakes
that had fallen off the shelf in
the backroom that was once a bedroom,
now long abandoned by her only son.
But in her stifled anger and saccharine offence,
she’d only managed to misread
my writing’s honest intent.
I write about you because I care about you.
Because I’ve thought about you as a person,
as a character, as what else you might have been
in life had the circumstances been different.
I write about you to make sense of our relationship,
to find some logic and some meaning
in our shifts of age and power.
I write about you to remember you as you are,
to memorialize you as a real person
and not some vague notion of someone
I thought I knew or pretended to know for so long
that I tricked myself into believing it were true.
I write about you to document your complexities,
not to diminish them through generalization.
I write about you because I see myself in you,
and I want to tease it out and learn from it,
to borrow your wisdom, find reasons for your flaws,
and escape copying your mistakes.
I write about you because I loved, love, will love you
and I want to understand who you are,
who you were, and who you’re still yet to become.
So, no, I won’t stop writing about you.
Because then I would stop caring, stop trying, stop being.
And that’s something I refuse to do.