The front hall of house was marked
by a huge flower pot,
the kind bought at a sweaty flea market on Saturday,
after groceries but before dinner and Disney
on the living room floor.
Taller than me, I would run my hands along
the lace brown strings that ringed it’s trunk,
plunge my hands into the soil searching for ancient things
It’s huge green leaves drooped down like
hands trying to touch toes from standing.
I remember the flowerpot.
It was a flower pot that he planted
into the side of her face,
the bruise growing like a birth mark across
the bridge of her nose,
down the flush of her cheek.
My small 8 year-old frame in
the doorway, frozen.
Fear had quarreled its roots under
the floor boards and into the concrete
cellar securing me there.
I did not notice when I began to shake:
the warm pool around my hardwood feet had turned cold.
I had to:
Pick up the pieces: but ignore the blood
Put what is left of her in my hand,
get down on my knees and cry until she moved
Help her to the bathroom where she passed out.
Sweep: Learn how to hold the broom that is too tall for small arms.
Master how to lift the rug hold it on my tiny back and sweep the truth under.
And hope that it did not slither it’s way back out
at the wrong time, like, when the neighbours are over for dinner.
Scrub: In circular motion the stain that is left where
a family has decayed.
The dark faded circle indicates
the former existence of a home.
Collect: The mangled leaves and placed them in their garbage grave
and as I did I named them: Innocence, safety, normal
Take your place among the rotting heap of broken eggshells,
animal bones and the material remains of childhood.
Disinfect: My wounds I rubbed the salt from the soil into
my arm and hoped for healing but it just scarred.
A permanent reminder to never buy terra-cotta it’s colour is too much like the desert known for sucking the life out of the living things that it holds.
So the first night you came home drunk,
the reek of “looking for a fight” oozing
out of every pore I naturally began to clean.
I picked up: the pieces of the glass that you helped fall
off the shelf towards my face.
Swept: the disbelief from my eyes
Scrubbed: the vomit out the living room floor.
Collected: your hand in mine as you cried and apologized,
this won’t happen again,
this won’t happen again.
This. Will. Not. Happen. Again.
Disinfected: my sympathy toward broken things that I cannot mend
I got down on my knees and cried until you moved
And helped you up to the front door,
Where I ushered you and your forked tongue promises out.
Then I slammed the door and locked it behind you.
Because if there is one thing I have learned how to do:
It’s how to clean up a mess.
About the Poet
Dagmar is a Canadian poet, artist, teacher and entrepreneur. She expresses herself through various channels in the arts (mostly in fashion, poetry and music) Currently exlporing fashion entrepreneurship Dagmar had 10+ years experience as an arts educator specializing in music, spoken word and performance arts. She is noted for her support, passion and mentorship of young women and girls and for using the arts as a vehicle for healing.