She Loves Me; She Loves Me Not

You ask if your grandchildren
Will ever know you,
And I wonder the same of me-
Can it be done?
To know what color is the thing
Ever changing colors,
What reflection in the funhouse
Is facing the reality,
What signature of veracity
Is buried in the novel,
And what in my childhood
Isn’t boogeymen and butterflies?
And I’m angry because loving you
Is watching you kill yourself
Over and over and over and over
And one day you might die
The way that you lived.
That day may be upon us,
And you desperately tell more stories
In the hope they outlive the paper truths
But you’ve woven decades of mistrust
In manipulations, in preemptive accusations,
And wild recriminations
At the slightest intervention,
Yet we gather, we intend to help,
For the sake of the broken child in you,
Past all the sins that twisted your history,
Which you cannot remember, nor recognize,
And do not understand, and
Because you have no one left
To sacrifice for your stories:
There is no poetry
For such senseless tragedy.
You reared us in a mirage
Of plausible deniability,
And I cannot remember
If the ground was ever solid
Beneath our tiny feet.
I know you by our experiences,
Some gut understanding
That surpasses the tales
We both may tell-
We all tell, or keep to ourselves
Because of the fog you planted
That grew taller than oaks,
Taller than redwoods,
Taller than the tiny tots in your care.
You should have named us
Smoke, and Mirrors,
But am I being unkind?
What drives me crazy
Is that I cannot tell if I love you dearly,
Or if I love a story I retell,
I cannot know if I despised our times,
Or let you become the ogre you played
On at least some days-
You prided yourself on living a life
Beyond the mundane
For better or worse-
We signed those checks,
Sometimes we cashed them,
And spent them quickly.
I don’t know where that leaves me.
I fight to stay boring.
You spin fables of grandeur,
And I don’t bring the kids
Because children believe in fairy tales
Which may be why you want them to come.

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