Where were you the first time you looked at me
and saw yourself in my face?
You told me you were living your life over through me.
You told me I would be the death of you
I stand beside your bed waiting, waiting
for you to draw your last breath
Knowing I have come home too late. I am dead to you already.
We shared consecrated Sundays
fishing in our secret spot near Toppins pier
No one found us there. No one looked.
I baited hooks. You smoked.
I force myself to bring my face to your mouth and inhale your breath
I watch you sleep. Your bloated flesh is the color of creek scum
Finally I speak the unsaid words.
I’m home, Mama. I’m sorry.
I wanted more from life than croakers and soft shelled crabs
I wasn’t your shadow or your savior
Mama, I ran away from you long before I left