SESTINA 1: WATER DADDY BLOOD MOMMY FIRE RONNIE

by on November 23rd, 2010
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“Son, for a plastic cup of piss-warm water,

some people will kill you dead”, Daddy

never said. A part of me wishes he did. I always hated blood

& probably would of listened. Had he said it. Mommy

specifically said, “Danny, do not play with fire,

you’ll get burnt if you do.” She told Ronnie

the same thing. But we were hard-headed, me & Ronnie.

I was about 4 when I wandered off, fell into the water

& nearly drowned. On wet rocks my fingernails became the fire

that saved me. Small creek. Such a young boy. It’s a shame Daddy

doesn’t remember things like this. Things that Mommy

will never forget. Some things you can’t forget. Ever. Blood

is one of them. It tattoos memories. Inked in unerasable blood.

Back then we were young but far from stupid, me & Ronnie

watching. Watching blood in mixture. Other things. Watching Mommy.

Her sickness. The drugs. The beer. The liquor. That’s not water.

Those pills didn’t come from a doctor. Bet they came from Daddy.

Blame him. Again & again. The heroin habit. Inside of her the fire

he lit. The needle. The poison into her veins injected. The fire

beneath the spoon. Each step in the process. & blood

is supposed to be thicker than what? Go back in time, Daddy–

back 25 years, before you went to prison-& tell me, tell Ronnie–

tell us that blood is thicker than water–

piss-warm, ice-cold, in plastic cups or crystal glasses. Tell Mommy!

We had just moved into a new house with a bigger yard. Then Mommy

suffered a nervous breakdown. Lit the whole house on fire.

Same fire she herself told us not to play with. But it wasn’t water

that saved her. God did. Him. His plans. & blood–

not a drop spilled from her body. No burns on her skin. Me & Ronnie

were safe at school when it happened. Then separated. Daddy

was somewhere minding his own business. High as a kite. That’s Daddy.

On his way to prison. This time for a decade. Into a mental hospital Mommy

went. Then got clean, changed her life & went to college. Me & Ronnie–

who she worked so hard for & raised as best as she could-we knew fire.

That it was hot & it burned. But we were hard-headed. Blood

was in mixture. Too much crime & drugs in the picture. Not enough water.

Look! Look at me, Daddy. All grown up & a Poet now. Look at the fire

burning. Look at Mommy. So strong & beautiful. Look at the blood

bleeding. Look at Ronnie. All grown up & a father now. Look at the water.


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