Katie Taylor

To Have a Family

Full fathom five thy father lies?
How beautiful, but my father dies.
Coral for his milk and chalk bones?
No, let him become
detritus for he broke my own
with his sticks and stones.
Eyes of pearls made by
that now famous hourly
sea change? Please, oh no. Not
after the blue hyacinths he planted
onto my shoulders and spine
on the cream carpeted stairs, stained by
days’ neglected dog piss,
make him Prometheus
and let the vultures pick
the sticky pearls from his sockets
like worms until thrice full.

And mother-dear,
thanks for that; finally
giving me something
borrowed and something
blue.

Now, mother, of
course you were balding;
he skinned you so often,
like the sheep
that you are. And he,
the shepherd, leading you,
blinded, off the craggy hill that bit
your lovely neck in two.
And I watched each time
you closed your eyes
and nodded that baneful head until
you had shaken both cochlea right
out–Oh! And now no one
will blame you for not knowing what
you never could hear.

So when you found me
with the blood–sucking
tick left inside my crease,
begotten from the unsheathed
and ochre–rusted ends of the knives
those greedy little boys used
to stab me in the back
of their cars during those cigarette
summer nights when I waited on
the chewing gum littered cement front porch
for those boys whom I used
to prove a point
to me. Me. Only me.

I deserve the full fathom five.
I deserve to slip off the side
of that steep fucking hill,
let my hands uncurl from the edge that is
as coarse and personal
as the leaves of the potted violet plant.
You should have let me use the sewing needle
for what it was worth.
For now I’m still Holy,
And the peach light of my dirge
Slips through me each morning.
But you have both raised me
to be the Young Lady
in Strindberg’s Spöksonaten. Now I wait
for the Sunday’s Child that too
can see me. I would love to
be seen, to have a Family.