She was standing in a puddle of water,
waiting for an electrical storm to come.
“What are you doing?” I shouted, she did not hear me.
Rain was beating down on her upturned face.
“Get back inside the house!” I screamed.
The sky was flashing so I tried to drag her skinny arms,
but all she did say was “I’m washing it away, I’m washing it away”.
As long as I can remember, my mother was bruised.
sometimes there were only tiny bruises,
like ignorant ink-saliva ants had bitten her around the neck.
Other times she was bruised on the inside,
and some of the blue-black gleamed through her eyes.
These times it could stay within her for days,
and a sheen of sadness would block her from vision.
When the storm sounds would come,
I would sit with my back against the door,
listening and wishing that I had the courage to stop it,
but I never would.
I always knew when it was coming, though.
She had bought the wrong detergent,
or spent too long getting me from school.
He said she dressed like a slut for work,
or replied a little too rudely.
One day lightning from her bones left thin slashes on her wrists.
She had been crying in the bathroom for an hour,
but his voice was so loud that he didn’t hear it.
When she came out it was the first time I had seen
anything but bruises mark her delicate skin.
I thought that I would rather have her bruised than struck by lightning,
I didn’t realise that they might mean the same thing.
The last time, he threw a glass ashtray at her.
It shattered next to her head like a crash of thunder,
trapping her against a wall completely defenceless surrounded by shards.
I told her then that she needed to leave, and she did.
My mother has not been bruised by my father in 6 years,
now there are only diamonds around her neck, that sparkle in her eyes.
Yet when I am falling in love I find myself vigilant,
ears sensitive to the sound of approaching thunder.
I will never be with anybody whose voice is too loud to hear my cries,
I will never be with anybody who will leave me bruised instead of sparkling,
and I will never be with anybody who leaves me standing in a puddle of water,
lit with the reflections of a coming electrical storm.