“You Sat Me Down” by Tami Boehle-Satterfield

george_segal_woman_on_white_wicker_chair_d5624711hSculpture by George Segal

You sat me down then.
Back then, sat me down.
S a t m e d o w n.
Even now I feel myself resist,
Knees won’t bend
Knowing how much support I still need.

“What?” I said, then.
And you said,
Then you said,
“Sit down,
I want to tell you something.”

And a mother knows.
And I wanted to say, “No.”
“No, I am busy.”
“No, not now.”

“I want to tell you something.”
You said.
“And I don’t want you to say anything until I finish.”
Your voice, a case full of arrows, quivered.
Your face flushed feverishly as you took aim.
I saw that your hands were shaking with your shot across the bow.

And I sat in the chair on the deck in the sun,
Becoming the chair on the deck in the sun.
I was a chair on the deck in the sun when you told me.
My legs rigid with resistance,
My back stiff, inflexible.
As you spoke I became a soft, green cushion buttoned shut.

And when you said,
When you said,
And even now,
My heart is a deep, dark bruise burned into my chest,
Tender and throbbing, aching to be rubbed
Clean of the awful injury

That cut bone-sharp and deep,
Branding a hot hole in my life.
Looking into the red-hot raked-over coals,
I could finally see
The fire he set in you,
That set out to destroy you.

You told on him in measures, weighting my fortitude,
But still, I was losing ground,
Desperate to get around your careful telling,
Trying to look past what you were guarding against,
Trying to see where this was all going,
But even your slow telling of it was too fast for me.

My hands held tight to the chair on the deck in the sun.
My arms becoming white wicker. My hands claws, holding on.
The whole world was barreling down fast,
This freight train of a story,
A story, The Story, THE STORY.
It rounded a sharp corner and I was thrown hard.

You were kind and beautiful,
The last brave thing I saw before I was blown to bits.
Your grace, the only clean, white thread holding me together.
You spoke of forgiveness like a chaplain kneeling beside the dying.
And your deep-throated cry was like a church bell,
Something to hold on to at the screw in the twisted story.

Their fucking miserable story.
Their impudent, reckless, and dangerous behavior.
Their perversions of never accounting for anything
That finally accounted for how I became a chair on the deck in the sun
Made to watch them watching him hurting you.
The mendacious bastards.

And NOW, some time later,
My heart no longer broken,
But mended into a giant, ireful fist.
I am nothing but a hot piston firing relentlessly.
Pounding everything like a sledgehammer,
Hammering and hammering and hammering away.

A pick ax picking it out,
Chiseling away at all their haunts,
Until all their hiding places lay at my feet.
Their recumbent positions of doing too little exposed.
All their lies plain to see.
All their false Gods broken.

Liars, liars, liars,
Fucking liars,
You liars.

I will not be a chair on the deck in the sun.
I will not be a buttoned up soft, green cushion.
I will not.
I will not sit for this.
I will not stand for it.
I will not.

I am the mother of a daughter raped.
There, I’ve said it NOW, aloud and plain for hearing.
The veracity of us both strapped to a chair, trapped.
My close-knit and knotted family tying everyone in, everyone down.
Hollow, deviled monsters.
Malevolent molesters.

I am not a chair on the deck in the sun, now.
I am not a soft, green cushion buttoned shut, now.
My hips are flexible in consideration,
My knees pliant in self-forgiveness,
My arms compassionately wide open.
I am a supplicant healer, a besieger of my girl’s divine truth,

Traveling back in time, this time a sedulous nurse,
Singing careful songs,
Tucking her in safely.
Soothing my girl’s deep wounds,
Washing them right in the warm, salty waters of my abjectly regretted kin,
Stitching them closed with patient kisses.

I will sit down now, without exception,
Sit down with you, my girl. The good mother you deserve.
Forever leaning forward to hear you speak,
Knees easily bending beneath the chair,
My back, relaxed and strong for you,
Unarmed my hands endeared to you, lovingly extended for when you reach.

September 2013

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