Music class was held in the bomb shelter down the hall from my senior kindergarten homeroom. The shelter was plain with thick walls, so inside the acoustics were good. We inhabited a musical safe zone where we could play anything and not get hurt. My music teacher had a Russian accent that made her words taste funny in my ears. She sat on the floor between our tapping feet and sang as we tightly held the mallets with our childish hands. I focused on the rubber ball on the other end of my mallet, hitting and bouncing off the metal slate of the xylophone. The room was long, narrow, and cold like the xylophone slate. There was no space to sit in a circle, so we sat on the bench beside each other and faced the bricks in front of us. Hidden and safe.
It’s not your fault that you told me to go on a diet when I was 7. It’s not your fault that you told me I looked 4 months pregnant after a holiday meal. It’s not your fault for yelling at my mom for eating 3 grapes after dinner. It’s not your fault that you look me up and down when I come home, checking to see that I am still skinny and within your standards.
It’s my fault for remembering.
You tell me to take myself less seriously.
The alarm rang at 7:00
But I didn’t think of you until 7:03
So I am making progress.
I swore at 7:00
Then again at 7:03
But there was no one there
I swore at your absence.
My dreams ended at 7:00
When I woke up to nothing at all
Except for everything I have forgotten
While memorizing you.
Oh, but darling
How did we get here?
I am in the post-love phase,
to call because I wouldn’t be able to hang up.
I shed your ghostly presence
Wondering which parts of myself
I lose in the process.
Remember that time in the car, at
Remember the birdshit on your shirt?
Remember the stuffed peppers?
Remember me? I try to.