23 May Question Mark
How do you love your father when it seems like loving him is betraying your blue-black-faced mother?
How do you offer him a smile when your mother’s smile has been broken by his fist?
How do you enter his embrace when you know those arms twisted your mother’s till it was almost broken?
How do you choose to accept his love when he blatantly refused your mother it?
How do you kiss your mother goodbye when you see the map of his fist on her cheek?
How do you look into your mother’s eyes when they’re blood-shot from his rage?
How do you listen to her midnight tales when her voice quivers each time she hears the door creak?
How do you tell your mother you love her and your father the same when it’s a wicked contradiction?
How do you watch your mother scrub her blood off the floor as you walk across to serve your ‘exhausted’ father water?
How do you massage your mother’s bruised back and hold your father’s hands with those same hands?
It’s the same way you whisper moans into strangers’ ears.
It’s the same way you utter ~unkind~ cruel words against another.
It’s the same way you scribble sentences upon sentences onto your thighs before you enter the exam hall.
It’s the same way you offer love for money,
Even though you’re not lacking.
It’s the same way your words hurt because the pain you feel has to be shared.
It’s the same way your eyes sparkle in the moonlight
Sparkle from the tears you *refuse* to let down.
It’s the same way your heart aches when you visit your mother in prison
& when you stare at your father’s tombstone.
It is the divided nature of your heart that harbours both love and hate in equal quantities.
It is the compartmentalized nature of your existence,
And the question mark behind your name.
Dedicated to the direct and indirect victims of domestic abuse.
“…. and all shall be well” -Dame Julian of Norwich.
– Amaka Chukwudifu