Christmas 2018

My warrior,
Just as I said today
to aching little feet
on unstretched legs
that had walked miles
as they collapsed in
the snow, again
and again
and again
“No. We will not lay down
and die.
Our family doesn’t give up”
And though his legs ached
and his limbs froze
along with his tears
He looked up at me
and said
“I’m not giving up.
We don’t give up, do we Mum?”
And after we were
warmed and fed,
she said –
“Please Mum, my legs
still hurt – I cannot walk
Don’t make me. Please can
we get a taxi?”
And as she said it
One manifested before us
I said yes.
Not knowing
In that driving snow
That I was early
and what I was giving up
For all of us
This is the story
of every day of my life
My lived testimony
dressed by others as excuses
Every day I live it
Every day I look for you
Every day I see you
Everywhere and in everyone
Your eyes are painted on the walls
Your footsteps on the stones
But I never see you
I seldom ever see you
Although I always look
Then on days like this
I feel anxiety and dread
For the injustice
of your lonliness
For the daylight robbery
of our future
Never for me
Sad as I can be, I
never feel bad for me
I only feel guilty
I take the brutality
of the serendipity
upon my own shoulders
as if it is my fault
Always, my own fault
As if every missed
opportunity, is my fault
And I agonise for you
I hold the weight
of your inconvenience
your embarrassment
though no one ever
said my name
Though no invite
ever came
I carry the shame
I carry four bruised hearts
Every day we are apart
And I still drag myself up
and try again
And again
And again
Because this family
doesn’t give up
It was four years ago
I wrote:
“I don’t need what is new
to decipher you”
I wrote those words
with a hopeful heart
A devoted heart
and two years ago
I began to decipher you
I began to prove it
Rejuvenating what the
corrupt posture stale
going beyond the pale
for illumination
of a generation
It was three years ago
I warned:
“The price of what you hide
is that it remains hidden
and the true risk;
that the most gorgeous gifts
go ungiven”
I wrote those words with
a broken heart
a devastated, violated
seemingly abandoned heart
that I set aside
to mend in time
Because this family doesn’t give up
I can’t count the borders
on my fingers and toes
Just as I can’t quantify
the love that grows
and grows
and grows
no matter the indignity
the rarity
and ingenuity
makes it so natural
makes it easy
If I counted my love for you
in frostbitten digits
in numbed extremities
in near misses
in late or early minutes
or in close calls
I would be forever encumbered
by that number
So I let it go
I let it all go
and no matter what
I try again
and again
and again
Because this family doesn’t give up
They say blood is thicker
than water
but blood has nothing to do
with what stands between you,
your son and your daughter
Only pride and a carefully manicured
public life stands between
you and your wife
and your son and your daughter
I wanted to give you
an egg for Christmas
An egg within me
But instead of
wrapping your gifts
in my skin
I had to wrap them in words
In poetry
That I remain capable is
in itself, a victory.
Even if it isn’t taken seriously –
It may not seem enough.
But it is all the real me
and this family doesn’t give up
Even now I wonder –
will my truth be rejected?
Too many times I’ve been
Selected and deselected.
But I can’t make decisions
on capitulation
to what I know is wrong
Not telling the truth is
the most counterproductive
thing we’ve ever done
As soon as we learn to
this bitter war
will be won.
We shall, we shall
This bitter war will be won
Because our family doesn’t give up