my great grandfather stopped in a random town en route to michigan and
asked the local barber for a shave. the barber said sure, just as soon as
i get back from lunch, and left my great grandfather sitting there. until
the end of his days, he wouldn’t even drive through that small town, made
a point of going around it because that barber knew when he was hungry,
knew how to take care of himself first. grudges like this run down the family
lines, run through my own veins. my granddad wouldn’t speak to my uncle
for six months because in a dream, my uncle, his youngest son, wronged him.
my uncle said dad, you can’t be mad at me for something i didn’t do, and
granddad said if i dreamt it, that means you were thinking about doing it.
my own father still won’t even speak the name of the neighbor who killed
the soft purple lean of his wisteria vine over 35 years ago. just like how
i dream over and over that you have found someone else, that sometimes
she is in our house, brushing the ghosts of her fingertips against walls.
how in my sleep i scream at you, claw the air demanding the fullness
of your attention, but you don’t hear me, won’t even give me the warmth
of your gaze. how when i wake, i am that plum-colored ache of a vine,
cut down, dead. you are a continent away in the next room,
and i don’t know how to forgive you.