Punishment of the unloved


If you understand him better –

are you able to deal with him better?


will not change his behavior.


I know I cannot change him,


understanding has expanded me.


I was an invisible child

-only an extension of himself,

only another appendage,

no thoughts independent.


He was an abandoned child,

for whom his lost mother become ‘ex-mother’,

gone mother

because to the authority giver,

she was ex-wife.


My feelings were too much to handle,

my opinions never asked for,

my obedience went un-thanked.

When I found courage,

I was belittled.


His childhood was pressed into service,


and the responsibilities of the eldest.

Far from thanked, he was threatened –

told to bring back success, or not return at all.


I was told

that my dreams were stupid,

that talking about my pain was stupid,

that thinking I was trustworthy

was stupid.


He was taught not to trust

when his dreams were extorted

and his ambitions were sold

to the highest bidder,

without notification,

and certainly without consent.


He was afraid of me

afraid of what it meant

to have a delicate thing,

not sure who he could be around it,

around me.

And so he delegated my care to my mother,

but she kept him near enough

to be a threat.

Do you know what it meant to me –

– to admit how deeply I had been hurt,

only to learn that he knew he might hurt me?

He knew he might, so he tried to be distant?


Knowing that the love I craved,

he had never felt himself,

has left me without a judge’s hammer.

The punishment I might pronounce

has already been served.


I was unloved!

– You must be unloved too!”


But his un-love had already happened,

and I was punished for it.

All this I understand –

it pours water on my fire,

and turns it to steam,

instead of rage.


With this understanding

I forgive myself more easily –

for not being more charmingly lovable,

and for not being delightful enough

to make him forget himself.


Some people are impervious to charms,

not all speak the same tongue.

I was born to a language

that he had long-ago renounced.

I might have taught it to him again,

but change was not his way.


And unchanged he remains,

my understanding has not expanded him,

only altered him in my eyes,

so that I see him as someone to love.


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