Blood Will Tell

Sometimes a poem insists on being written although you’ve no idea why. This is such a poem, initially provoked by the image of two women, one older and one younger, sitting across from each other in a sidewalk cafe.

She said deciding not to love
was like swallowing a coyote
that gobbled her heart a little
at a time, not all at once. Ashes
crumbled down her linen blouse
from the American Spirit with
a pinprick of ember pausing on 
the surface directly above where
her heart once burned. 
She said you have to meet a man 
at the level of his intentions and 
he never intended to cherish me, 
so I walked away. 
I had to ask the question that made
her unavoidably unique: Do you 
regret it, the decision not to love
my father? Her eyes dropped to
brush the ash away then rose to
order more whiskey sours. 
She knew my question rhetorical 
for I am the daughter she carried 
to term as that feral vow quietly 
butchered her. 
I am the only begotten who learned 
in utero to parse the howling
silences of my mother’s life. 
I am the heir of a decision she did 
not regret, at least not all at once, 
but maybe a little at a time.   

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  1. Larry Shallenberger on July 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Dayum, you’re good.

  2. celticpaisley on July 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    This one is too intense for me… made me cry a little.

  3. Susie Finkbeiner on July 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I’m haunted by the “howling silences”. It rings true.

  4. Sarah Bessey (@sarahbessey) on July 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    “meet the man at the level of his intention” – oh, yes.

  5. Friday Love 7.6.12 TheDailyGrace on July 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    […] Blood Will Tell, a poem “that insisted on being written” by John Blase, of […]

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