The Same Beast (AKA "A Letter to my Father)

I want to know everything you remember

About how I grew up.

Tell me every detail

So you can’t change your narrative

What color was your shirt when you taught me to ride a bike?

What was the first movie you took me to see.

Tell me about the first time

You held me in your arms

How about my brother?

Tell me about empty Red bull cans

And 20 hour shifts.

Tell me about when the beast

In your skull awoke.

Tell me the color of her shirt

When you held a knife to her throat

The shape of her mouth

The first time you hit her.

Tell me the way her eyes looked

How they were as big as your fist.

When you told her you were going to kill her.

Show me the way her breath caught

As you wrapped your hands around her throat

Show me how her tears glistened

When you told her if she ever talked to you again

You would break her neck.

Tell me

Show me

Help me relive

You tearing my family apart.

Do you remember

The fire in my 11 year old eyes

the first time

I told you to get the fuck out.

Do you remember

How deep

And how hard

My hatred burns for you

Because it hasn’t stopped.

She always told me:

You’re still my father

You’re just sick

I need to let it go in one ear and out the other.

I need to stop stirring the pot

Do you really think she wanted me to believe these things

As she fought with you over a knife in her own bed?

Do you think she wanted me to sit back and take all of this quietly?

That she didn’t know at the same time the beast stirred in you it stirred in me.

We are blood

Your pain is my pain.

But my pain will not be her pain  

Will not be my little brother’s broken lip.

A scar he says he forgot.

My pain will be your pain.

Will be the reason you work long hours

Will be the reason you can’t sleep at night.

My pain will give you a reason

To have a knife under your pillow.

My pain will show you our pain.

You will never forget

The color of my shirt

The first time I hold a knife to your throat

The shape of my mouth

The first time I hit you.

The way my eyes look

When I tell you I’m going to kill you

The way your breath catches

As I wrap my hands around your throat.

I want to see

The way tears glisten on your cheeks

When I tell you if you ever talk to me again

I’ll break your neck.

My pain is a big talker

My pain would never do these things

I am not you.

But don’t be surprised if I become you.

Our skulls

House the same beasts

After all.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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