P. Melissa Fisher
Poetry, With Love
They tell me it’s time to say my goodbyes
I have a new life—
A better life
Only holds me back
You’d give me the same advice
Get over it, Pe—get on with your life
Wish I could
But I still can’t:
Pass your house without crying
Or laugh about the good times
You never said goodbye
Why should I?
Or did you?
Every time Terry Jacks says,
Goodbye to you my trusted friend
To which Sweet Baby James will persistently answer,
But I always thought that I’d see you again.
I’ve written countless lines
About your death,
But precious little about your
I’m told that in so doing—
I dishonor you.
With my new friends—
I’ve replaced you.
They tell me I’m running—
Away from you.
How many memories
Have I intentionally forgotten,
Because remembering them is too painful?
I didn’t wield the hammer
That took your head for its nail.
Yet I’m told that
I kill you
A little more every day—
How did Theresa and you meet?
I don’t remember.
What was she like in school?
I don’t want to talk about it.
But I don’t mind wallowing
In how you died,
Or how it affects me—
Always about me
Never your story,
Ended too soon
Never truly begun.
Yes, I miss you
Is picking the scab
Off a ten-year-old wound
Going to bring you closer to me?
Your love of god-awful shit-kicking hillbilly music
And the fierceness with which you
Protected those you loved,
So I will try
To remember how your lip curled
When something displeased you
(An expression I still copy)
And the way you gently forced me
To always do what we both knew was right.
And I know it’s right
For me to remember
That the salient function of a hammer
Is to build
And I’ve been allowing the one that shattered you
To break me for far too long.
Surviving As Woman
Since the serpent tempted Eve to eat the apple,
Men have told us, You’re just a girl,
And relegated us to a role we were forced to take—
That of the woman forever behind the man.
Lady Macbeth begged to be unsexed.
Must a woman be something other than woman to fit into a man’s world?
What would change if women ran the world?
Instead, for years, we sat chained to a home, baking apple
Pies while pretending to think of sex
As just one of those duties a girl
Must suffer though to please her man,
Denying the pleasure that should be ours to take.
Just as men have tried to take
From us the rights that are due all people of the world,
Simply because we were born women.
Does it make that big a difference that we have no Adam’s apple?
Or is it the other parts unique to a girl
That make them so frightened of our sex?
Yet it’s women who have reason to fear sex.
After all, it’s men who, if not given it freely, will just take
That which they know to be held most precious by a girl.
But hasn’t that always been the way of the world?
That she should be blamed for not using the ample
Means of protection from men—given to her by men:
Never go anywhere unescorted by a man,
And never dress to entice a man to think of sex,
Especially in a place like the Big Apple.
Should these rules fail, and she is taken,
It is her mistakes that will be flaunted to the world,
As the trial of the victim begins—the trial of the girl.
Of course she is lying; one can never trust a girl.
But, My word is my bond, claims every man.
She was drunk; her head in a whirl;
It wasn’t his fault; a man needs sex
It was offered and he accepted, but he didn’t take,
That’s what Adam said about the apple.
The serpent offered Eve, but that was no excuse for the girl.
The rules are taken and revised to suit a man,
Thus proving that sex and power are all that matters in this man’s world.