This Cold Hollow: children born to parents who don’t want them

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How did I know that you had left me before I knew the words for empty, lost, bereft?  Before my birth scar?  Before I witnessed the guillotine of your contempt?  Before I could control my bowel, or tie my shoe, or awakened trembling in the night. Before you scoffed at me as I learned to walk.

A wild bird born in a shoebox senses an unknown world through its wings; a child through the smell of cigarette tar on net curtains; through warm piss in a cold bed; and the distance he can spit through the school railings.

Like bread stolen from the poor, I anticipate the tension and release of a hunger that rises and falls beneath my sternum, not in the empty belly.  Thrown back upon myself, my terror swarms like Starlings and ground glass into the shadow of a hook I put around my neck.  Around every look I give you.  Into every time you look askance.  Into your hard edges; your coy softness with others.  I become sawdust to your floor.  And you, unreachable, no matter the denials, the blood spilled, or the threat of life or death.

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Empty parking space.  Trees without leaves.  A sky without a Sun.  Rain on the back of a hand.  Space without belonging.  There is no place for me.

And so, I learn to forget myself as I too am forgotten.  The way we all forget a shrub, a drain cover, or algebra.  I forget my hunger in an effort to forget the pain of you remembered.  I let the door swing on my hand to bring me from old to new, uncomplicated pain; to rescue my longing from your death coil.

I forget the throat-ache of my sorrowful song.

Instead, I stand on stage with a side parting, no cleft palate; no club foot; no Tiny Tim of brace and buckle.  I worry about money and diplomas and cancer, and whether everyone on Earth will share the double helix of your eternal absence and indifference, in this cold hollow.

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. A very powerful tale Stephen; raw, open and honest, with a bitter twist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephen says:

      An all-too common experience for many Caz. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed it is Stephen x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephen says:

    Thank you Sara

    Like

  3. I am very glad that I discovered your blog on Mother’s Day.
    Mother’s Day is fraught with many mixed feelings for people whose mothers were far from perfect.
    Thanks for posting. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephen says:

      Thank you Sally. I’m sure a lot of people will relate to your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Stephen ! Yes, I think that it is best to be truthful about motherhood.
        Of course this is a day when Mothers are honoured, and rightly so, but let us feel a special empathy today for people whose mothers did not live up to the category of the ‘ideal’ mother.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Geri Lawhon says:

    A very powerful post filled with much sadness. Thanks for posting this as it must be told.

    Like

    1. Stephen says:

      Many thanks Geri

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful and moving. This is poetry by another name.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stephen says:

    Thank you Anna.

    Liked by 1 person

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