i speak out to him and his silence deafens me. ARE YOU GOING TO IGNORE ME LIKE YOU DID WHEN YOU WERE ALIVE? i call out. am i broken? am i worthy of reparations? i feel so damn weak. i hate asking for help. love me, hold me, take care of me. bossy bossy they say. please help me, i ask, please don’t look at me that way, just stop looking at me that way and hold me and stroke my hair and tell me everything will be alright. no you are weak. you are not good. ‘you are a mean little girl’ she would say to me and ‘you are not a kind person’ she told me just months ago and it rings, it fucking rings in my ears. sometimes you can plug it away and lose yourself in artificial confidence. fake it til you make it he said to me but you know what? doesn’t work. coping mechanism, but not an evolution. when you died you sliced a section of my heart out and took it with you. have i always had so many cracks in me or did you expose them with each glance? every time you look in my eyes i feel vulnerable. sometimes the pain hurts so bad i wake up with tears in my eyes, crying out for forgiveness. who will let me feel sorry for myself and hug me anyhow and let it pass without walking away from me? non-coddlers, she named them. people who will watch you cry with dumb stares and refusal to touch. they pay it backwards by taking out their own hurt on you and thinking not holding, not comforting, not showing softness, is the way to heal. or they don’t think at all. which is worse. i remember coming home to find possessions scattered, a crowbar in my closet, window cracked, violated violated violated. and no one came. sleeplessness for so many months i couldn’t count my fear in days or nights or hours but rather in how many minutes i could sleep before my heart exploded. things are different but i still have these bruises. beaten, blackened, swollen, fiercely protective of what is left. you may dream of me but do you have the courage to love me? or are you just another semblance of futility. i am in distress, calling out to the wind, burned and charred and aching. you left me at four, you left me at ten, you left me at twenty-six and you abandoned me for good at thirty-five. i dream of having a baby and yet i feel myself choking. you broke me. or did you. some days i can’t decide. i feel strong, smiling and dancing with myself and seeing the possibilities. so why did i awake tonight with inevitability and exhaustion seeping through my pores. i am nauseous, i am disappointed, i am failing. i am so scared. i am so human.