A Letter to the Unforgiven

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A Letter to the Unforgiven

By Teri-ann Fico


I remember the first time you

parallel parked.

You fit so perfectly,

so evenly, and even when I

stood on the other side

of the street, I could still see

how much you belonged

in that spot,

that time,

that space.

For now you could

finally blend in the hard places.

I remember when you got your first job

bagging food, soap, bits and pieces of

someone else’s life with a smile on your face

as fake as your manager’s breasts.

Yet you

did your job “well enough,” and when you

were offered that promotion,

you took it, because you worked hard for it.

Kind of.

You did not intend to stay there,

but you did, and your smile

became comfortable, but acutely aware.

And maybe your old manager wasn’t

so bad, but there you stood

in her shoes and you realized

that you,

yes, you,

needed more than this, and so

you grew furious at all the things

that she did not become,

that you would not become.

So, you planted your roots in the sky

so that they might suck the nutrients

from the stars, but withered

and died when they could not reach,

and where your branches were unable to support the

extent of their length, they fell beneath you

and mercilessly sank into the ground.

I remember when you called

that night when the moon

was merely a crescent roll

cut a little too thin,

and you told me your

mother was drowning in an ocean of

empty beer bottles at her feet

while trying to teach you to swim.

I remember your house that night, with the

picket fence split in half, and your faith stuck

in between the crevices of your broken bones that were

hung high and burning in your mother’s chandelier,

with your patience hung bare on the clothes line

like a noose made just a little too well.

What was left of your dignity shoved up the chimney

with a needle-tipped brush that never could clean,

just waiting for the flame to ignite.

But when it did, it did not shoot up

towards the majestic crescent roll in the sky

but up your arm instead.

Yes, I remember that vacant stare

with those once vibrant eyes,

and those heavy limbs

dancing in listless circles with the

skeletons in your closet, which were

soaked red by the overflow of blood

your heart could no longer pump.

But your blood vessels could stretch over

60,000 miles, and yet not one of those lines

led you any closer to that one spot on the street

where you had parked so well.

Because now when you parallel parked,

you’d bump into every car close to you, and they

were always the ones who’d take the brunt of the impact

and selflessly write down their insurance

information when they knew they so clearly shouldn’t.

But you would take it again and again

because you,

yes, you,

had become the white elephant in the room,

and no, I would no longer forgive you—





Such a selfish thing to do,

to think your life belonged only to you.

To think you would inject this poison alone,

that you could drag a trail behind you

like a child with an old, ripped blanket,

seams getting caught on every surface,

tearing slowly,

pushing limits until the whole thing unraveled

all at once.

No, I did not forgive you.

And because I did not forgive you,

I did not call that day,

or the day before that,

or the week before that,

or the month before that,

or the year before that,

and because I did not forgive you,

the only one left unforgiven now, is


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