by Lesley Ingram

I remember how sunny the day was
pretending to be, how bright it was in the kitchen

how the water I was pouring from the blue mug
to the red mug, to the blue mug, to the red mug

was whispering it’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
how it dragged my sleeves

how the conversation I could hear was one-sided
how I understood every unloving word

how the front door closed with a rattle of glass
and how shivery I was as I watched

the watery shadow of my father disappearing
and my mother

a strange-woman, child-woman, old-woman left
on her knees and screaming

tell him to stay, he’ll stay if you
tell him, tell him, tell him,

how silent I was

how I went to curl on my bed
understanding waste of breath

how only I know this —
where the fault lies.