The Christmas Tree

Prompt: “That really did not help.”

It’s burned in my memory

The last Christmas I spent

With mom, in her home.

She had an artificial tree

Which she assembled, but

She was too old, unstable

To climb up on step-stool…

I certainly didn’t want to be

Responsible if she fell…so

When it was time to put the

String of lights on, I stepped up.

I was a nervous wreck as soon

As she’d taken the tree from

The closet…we didn’t work well

Together.  I couldn’t ever get

Things right…as in perfect

To please her.

So I’m standing above, hands

Shaking as I wind the lights

Around…she’s supervising

Ready to pounce, criticize.

Some details of memory blur

But there’s sense-memory…

Feeling like I’m five, not 50-ish

And terrified of the ogre who is

Mom…a feeling which never

Changed, as long as she lived.

Terrified of what? Her quick-flicked

Anger, impatience, humiliations…

Ogre, and piranha.

Things proceeded tensely… I

Couldn’t glean her vision, nor

Follow her directions to get there.

My stress level climbed…images

Flew through my mind: of shoving

The tree over, and her… throwing

Myself through plate glass window

Where tree was always displayed.

Her voice rose…annoyance that

Her stupid daughter was incapable

Of simplest decorating task.

I wanted to suggest she call my

Sister, the daughter she preferred.

I wanted to sob like a baby, so

Hurt…and angry that she could

Still reduce me to quivering blob

Of useless human tissue, at my age.

I longed to ask, do you really

Think I can do a better job if

You keep hounding me?!!

But I said nothing…in my

Entire life, I doubt I’d spoken

True feelings to her a handful

Of times.  It wasn’t as much

That I’d been taught Respect

As certainty of punishing

Reply:  words that would

Decapitate my soul, leave it to

Bleed out…yet somehow

Maintain a pulse so I could

Relive pain for the rest of

My crippled, disfigured days.

I remained mute…somehow the

Tree got finished, whether or

Not to her full satisfaction.

I hate her, forgive her, hate her…

I didn’t attend her memorial

Service.  When I received copy

Of her Will, I wasn’t surprised

To be disinherited…numbed to her

Rejections… And, what I wanted

She never had.

I thought her death would grant

Me “closure”…(empty term).  But

“That really did not help.”

I can’t recall if I once loved her…

I only remember fearing her, and

Crying myself to sleep most of

My young life, heart shredded…

Needing her to love me.

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.


Scapegoat’s Notes

Would that you might have

Deleted the day I was born

Before my eyes could focus

And see the truth in yours…

That you never loved me.

In every “love ya” printed on

A birthday note, I heard a liar

Making poor pretense of being Mom…

You were maternally corrupt

Smug in your superiority as the adult.

You called me stupid, naive, as though

Your bitter cynicism, disillusionment

Regret for irrevocable choices made

Were medals to be coveted…I think

You envied my chances not yet taken.

You mocked everything about me…

In particular, my hope that there

Was more ahead of me in life

Than the role of your scapegoat.

You despised me with a fire beyond

Passion’s cool describing and belief

By others…consummate actress

Outside our home, none of your peers

Would catch you in act of cruelty…nor

Dad, who kept you on delusive pedestal.

But there was a Witness…the One who matters.

I didn’t need to send God a memo

Sixty-some years later He’s still

Picking up the pieces of young soul

You shattered over and over…and

Pasting me together again and again.

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.