If I had a Nickel
For ever time you threatened suicide
every time we saw your face puffy
your thin white lips locked together
your head in your hands.
voice shill, the sound of boiling crabs.
If I had a nickel for ever man who victimized you
every man who wronged you, every man you invited into your life, our lives
open arms, arms so open we fell out
made room for him, his needs, your need to fill his needs.
Until things gotget so much into chaos
we must pull you out by your-teeth your-hair your-fingernails
clawing with your right hand, begging us for help with the left
your tears against us and for us lay side to side
mingle in dark damp smears on the cotton of your shirt sleeves.
on the backs of your wrists.
We fix it again
because we’re obligated
because we love you
because you’ve taught us how to walk
because you’ve taught us how to love
and how to give so much that we know how to hold it back-
hold it all back.