(Image:A Quiet Conversation by Nina Kirova)
Much of what I write is positive, uplifting, and forward moving. I believe that in order to move forward fully, one must shine a light on her history and how she was impacted by it. Here is a small window into my own as I make sense of what it means to have a voice (as an artist and a woman), as well as how childhood experiences linger with us into adulthood.
I can’t quite remember
how it felt
in your arms.
I can remember those arms
hurling a plate through the air,
your red shouts,
the yellow squash my sister refused to eat
still sticking to the ceiling lamp
what seemed like years later.
I remember that beautiful bowl of fruit,
the colors grinning up at mama
as she carried it through the kitchen doorway
to the table.
I remember the struggle
as you tugged it from her grip
and slammed it to the ground,
shattering the dish into a million pieces,
as she leapt backward from you
into the darkened kitchen.
I remember the loneliness of the staircase
where you sent us
when we were naughty
to think about what we’ve done
and sit still.
It’s not all bad.
I remember the pickup truck bed
filled with sand
to be dumped in the backyard
beneath the treehouse you built the summer before.
You pointed out the differences
in the granules.
I remember casting out
and finally reeling the big one onto shore;
I remember sliding a paddle into the water;
or parking at the beachside;
I remember scurrying up the hill
so we could roll down it.
I remember the fists flying
and the look in your eye
as you streaked across the kitchen.
I also remember
as I lay on the ground
amidst the mess I made
wood and glass and a loud crash with my fall;
the noise had frightened me
before I could speak,
you scolded me.
I would like to hold the things
the dip of the sun as you served
barbecued meats and the potato salad;
the bump of your truck
as I rested my head against the back speaker
NPR cooing in my ear as you drove.
Yet, I am holding the things I remember
the hard hand slap against my rump
because I used my outdoor voice
instead of my indoor one;
on my backside
because I was chasing my sister
when we were supposed to be quiet
and in bed.
Your shout from the couch
as you rested with the paper
when we spoke too loudly
in the kitchen
or held fridge door open
for too long.
And I wonder why
as an adult
I struggle with
I can’t remember how it felt
but I can remember
what I didn’t
I can remember
that I didn’t feel