Poem: Waiting

Waiting

I remember nights spent

staring at walls, waiting

for the fighting to stop,

waiting for a moment to

breathe before the world

around me fell apart.

 

I remember the solidness

of my sister as she lay beside

me, holding her breath at the

same time I was holding mine,

waiting for the chaos to pass.

 

I remember the yelling, the

words that never quite fit

together in rational patterns

and the solid thump of fists

meeting flesh while waiting,

frozen in tension, frozen in fear.

 

I remember never knowing

what the next moment held

contained within it, always

looking ahead with an eye to

the next moment I would be

holding my breath, waiting.

 

I remember so much waiting

that it is as if my entire life

became a collection of moments,

of snapshots of frozen terror,

to be relived over and over, as

each coalesced into waiting.

 

Waiting for the next terror,

for the next abuse, for the

next harsh word, the next

physical blow – the violence

turned into what I expected,

became what I waited for.

 

Now, I wait with breath held

for the next moment of frozen

terror to lift its head from where

it lays dormant – sometimes, I wish

it would rise, give chase – at least

then, I could finally stop waiting.

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