A Letter to the Unforgiven
By Teri-ann Fico
I remember the first time you
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,
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.
did your job “well enough,” and when you
were offered that promotion,
you took it, because you worked hard for it.
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
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
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,
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