Who am I Now that I have Forgiven You

For not forgiving me, you who danced
My soiled clothes before my face, the terror
Of sheets shattered by machine gun fire.
I have never tattered so thoroughly, my child.
In shreds, my fingers gripped the wheel.
Breath threaded out in gasps.
You shot point blank from the back, your face
In the rear view crushed and wet with rage.
Your brother bowed his head and crumbled
On his lap, his mother stripped before him
Like a stained mattress. There was nothing
I could do but lie there, cold. Curled up like you
Asleep once in my body, I could hardly move.
Only a fly could prod me out of bed. I thought
I had forgiven myself. You raised my dead.
I didn’t want to forgive you. The afternoon
You called, broken, your voice a brick apology,
I cried for every confession I ever laid
Folded like sad stories in your wiry arms,
You who were too young to know when,
Where or how to put them away.

with thanks to Sharon Olds for the title

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