How I pictured you, poem by Douglas Alexander Holiday

      I went back there to take more
      pictures of the places that
      you once haunted
      imagining you standing
      in the center of a basement
      room gazing over at a
      hungry infant in the corner,
      a dirty crying baby and
      you not knowing or caring
      what to do, making other
      strangers plead with your
      mother, the grandmother,
      to do something, anything,
      and she refusing to lift a finger,
      feigning weakness and apathy
      so that she would not be held guilty
      of crimes against humanity

      I took pictures of the building
      next door too, where you said
      you held dwellings when another
      son is born and their father must
      have shaved or kept clean clothes
      while denying paternity because
      he was hiding from a wife with
      someone else’s wife

      I drove through that city and took
      more pictures of places haunted
      with the spirits and voices of
      family members, grandparents and
      half sisters, mothers and fathers,
      the buildings as decrepit
      as the people who once lived
      in these places,
      the authorities saying that
      you were depressed and ashamed
      at what you were doing,
      but I imagined you standing
      in any one of those rooms
      with a smirk across those lips
      because you had already
      done this four then five then six
      then seven and even eight
      other times in the past,
      (I recently learned about
      the two others, one even
      being a full brother…, how
      could you do that mother)
      you were a veteran at
      destroying lives, both innocent
      and grown-up lives,
      you just did not care,
      seeing nothing negative in your behavior,
      but like negatives in a photo album,
      you were transparent
      and my family album
      has only photos of buildings
      because the people should
      not be seen

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Kevin Christianson