Für Elise Played Quietly In a Room On Fire

There was a room, a room into which my father
entered once and slugged me. Bear with me;
I’m not about to repeat myself, not

for the wilt of me. I’m not about to beg forgiveness.
I am wilting, am made wrong. I reach for clouds,
stillness-hunting sunlight in the middle of storm.

Forgive me, my teeth are a tongue trap that won’t
speak to you without teeth. Slap them
clean out of my mouth. I need to bite them all

back. I am not in this for the water’s soak, the level
piano struck clean, my god given whimper
in a glass I can’t bottom. My father slimed in and sat.

My father crouched in and spoke. Cried and cried
of baseball bats, head stitches (I’m sorry). Switches,
hands snapped over the back (I’m so very sorry).

My father wove in with the nightstand, cried
in the lamp for the light in the room
on the red of his face. I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.

My father wormed into the room and used
coasters for his coffee, nodded thanks. Strange, this body
of mine, this limp in my gait. Strange

the room can keep so much and so little
catches in the light. I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry. The music
in the room is the rest of the room. I am my own

stranger wrecked in not knowing how much
madness I mouth. Host to a man on my couch
who built me incompletely. Strange

this music gone to the sky, this world of mine
given to the flowers in fields of me past the wilderness
I walk through despite legs that break each step

open, break and invite all who see into me
into me. I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry. My father sipped
his coffee, a bloom in his eyes, rivers

ready for banks to guide them to the heart
of their sad little ways, their broken
illustrations of this and that time they flooded, ruined

my rooms. I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.
I’m sorry. I love like I’ve waited to waste it. My father
looked up, smiled. Wet-eyed, he nodded,

tight-lipped. I love incorrectly. I punched him
right in the teeth as hard as I could and waited to see
how much of the river could still apologize.