malfunction

   “You have to believe me,”
                        he said.

I wake up in the morning and rub my eyes.
My hair is cascading in unruly swirls
over my shoulders.
The snow is falling in sweet caresses
over my windowsill.
He is sitting
with his back to me and muttering
frantically about something I don’t know.
His fingers are tapping on the desk
as they do when he gets very restless
and can’t sit still
and getting up again and again and again.
An icicle sits precariously outside
the kitchen window.

                    I am watching.

The wheeled leather chair spins round and I look at his face.
He always used to tell me I was the apple of his eye
and smile softly with affection
but now
his eyes are open wide and fearful looking
straight beyond me.
In fact I am certain he does not even see me at all.
The words out of his mouth are
so quick
to overlap each other
they barely make sense to me
something about
my dead father and fishing
and running
far
far
far away.
He is jittery and restless.
It all sounds like gibberish.

The wind howls outside.
It is almost loud enough to drown out the noise
he makes as he knocks over the chair
with a bang
and yells for the ghost outside the
kitchen window to take a hike.
That’s not what he says, exactly.
It’s much more polite.

                        Once he told me
                     what it felt like
                      to lose control
                         when your brain
                       moves so fast that
                         your mouth can’t keep up
                       when the thoughts in your head
                     incoherent and unrelated
                       and racing so fast it’s impossible
                 to say what’s on your mind
                   or form a sentence
                       that makes any sort of sense
                   and so you try to say everything
                       at once
                   and it comes out an avalanche of
                      word diarrhoea
                     until you just give up and say
                   nothing at all

I will never truly understand.
I am not the one who lives it.

                                                          error 707:                  
                                                       malfunctioning brain

A gust of wind hits the tree in the backyard.
A branch hits the kitchen window loudly,
frightening me
so that I fall off of my chair.
The snowstorm only seems to be getting worse.
It’s ironic, really,
he has always told me he liked storms
because they are chaotic
like him.
I am not like most people.
I have lived through multiple storms at once.

                         “You have to believe me,”
                               he said
and I never did.

He is gone
and the back door is open wide
and letting all the chill inside.
He has jumped
off of the garage roof
again
and left an imprint in the snow
on the ground.
He has jumped off the balcony again
and I remember the time when
I was five and he jumped
off the roof and broke his collarbone
and did not notice until
my mother
saw the bone sticking out of his arm.
My hair is flipped in knots
over my face.
The snow is falling in angry thumps
against the garage door.
The car has gone and he has gone with it
far away
and out of touch
and who knows where

                            Once he told me
                       what it felt like
                           to lose touch
                       when your brain makes you think
                    that you are incredibly
                          invincible
                      and famous
                           when you become
                         so reckless that you nearly
                     kill yourself or someone else
                       and do not realise
                            when your brain convinces you
                   your dead father or an evil being
                        is speaking to you
                      and so you run away
                            but they follow

I will never truly understand.
I know only what I have witnessed.                                                                                 

                                                                          error 606:
                                 a chemical imbalance in the brain

My mother calls.
He has crashed the car and broke the windows
and spent 900 pounds on things none of us need
and this is why we’re always out of money.

                 “They were coming,”
                       he said.

I wake up in the morning and rub my eyes.
My hair is sweeping in unbrushed clumps
over my shoulders.
The sun is peeking its cautious eye
in between the cracks in the blinds.
He is lying on an unmade bed
with his back to me
and snoring softly
and I take the blanket from the foot of the bed
and lie it over him
because his fingers are curled
into his palm
the way they always are
when he gets cold.
A flower peeks its head
through the grass
outside the bedroom window.

It is peaceful
and I see the photograph on the wall
of him and my father
and if I didn’t know better I would wonder
who was who.
The sun smiles outside.
Who does it think it is
beaming in the sky
It’s almost like it’s poking fun at us.
Look at the sun bright and cheerful
shining down on miserable people.
Look at the sunshine and its cruel jokes.

                      When I was a little girl
                         he took care of me
               tucking me into bed every night
                     kissing my wounds better
                        holding me in tight hugs
                  when I cried because I was sad
                       or I had a nightmare
                      or I missed my father
                           or somebody at school
                 made fun of my freckles
                     the way they always did
                   but I am not a little girl
                       and I take care of him now
                     because it is the least I could do
                         after all these years.

This room is a mess.
He needs some fresh air.

               “I am sorry,”
                      he said
                  and it broke my heart.

The room remains uncleaned.
The food remains untouched.
He does not speak
but I can hear all of his unspoken words
in the air between us
and I can see all of the unvoiced thoughts
in his downcast eyes.
My mother pleads.
He does not leave the house
or speak to me
and then he goes to work
like nothing at all is wrong
and I am scared.

My mother calls.
She says that he is back to his old self
and telling jokes
and goofing off
and everything is fine.
The sun is high in the sky.

                            Once he told me
                                 what it felt like to lose hope
                        when your brain forgets
                                 how to balance and you
                           forget how to laugh
                                when nothing seems to
                           make sense
                               and you just want
                             to feel okay
                                   but you don’t
                                       and you don’t
                                              and you don’t

But everything is fine.

I wake up in the morning and rub my eyes.
The trees shed their coats
with one brief shiver.
It is cold.
The photograph remains
on the living room wall
of the smiling face I long
to touch again
I shiver because it is cold.
His bedroom sits untouched.
Sometimes when I enter it
I can still smell him.

Published by featherquills

i am a misfit and a wanderer, captivated by the mysteries of the universe and the secrets of humanity.

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