UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
CYNTHIA RUTH LEWIS

Closure

Words completely fail me now, Dad--
they've always slid off you like glass.
How could I sum up the years of
silence between us with just a few
sentences, how could I recap this
untitled war that was waged so
long ago by your wordlessness?

You were always physically here,
but traveling a different road,
your senses tuned to that untapped
center somewhere within you,
your eyes occasionally moving in
my direction, recognizing, but not
believing, as if I was some foreign
relic you were unsure how to handle,
stubbornly, silently standing your
ground, refusing to let curiosity
get the better of you

I measured the years by that silence.
Wrapped so tightly in your oblivion,
you could not even see your own life
slipping away, let alone family.
You chose to simply close your eyes,
blinking each day away,
like an X on the calendar's face,
each dawn snapping into place yet
holding no difference, no meaning,
merely something to be endured as
you paced yourself towards the end
of the day to escape into the safety
of evening, those dark, quiet hours
that enfolded you, where nothing was
expected, save the wordless retreat
of slumber within whose dreams you
attempted to find solace

Even though your cancer has since
softened the blow of animosity,
I now find myself defenseless in
your utter fragility, your frame
being whittled down into something
so small and unimaginable,
with Mother begging me to make amends;
to say I love you or hate you
or even 'Amen'...
but you fail to see me as you
purposely focus on something outside
of the window, your thin body pressing
in defense against the old and
yielding mattress, biding your time,
counting the moments until I am gone
until evening comes
where the unassuming darkness
can tuck you away
and keep you safe


The Elements of Nothing

It's the way your trivial complaints
grate on my nerves; how our own
father never said a word, suffering
silently, even up until the morphine
kicked in. Him, I never knew,
folded deep inside that world of his,
but you, making sure every whine is
acknowledged until I could scream,
you, always the center of everything;
even your suicide attempt a stab at
attention, escaping with mere bandaged
wrists and an attitude that one should
kiss the ground you walked on. Now, your
fears of tumors quelled as they wheeled
you out into the reception room, my
wanting to smack the smugness off your
face that said 'I knew all along it was
benign,' wanting to hit you and scream
bloody murder, remembering the morning
Dad passed, my knowing he never had a
chance, never once seeing a mischievous
glint in his eyes, never happy and
smiling, turning to us to say 'see kids,
it was really nothing'


Bliss

If I didn't know then
what I know now

It's not often I take the time
to recall my childhood;
Lord knows I've attempted to
blot out the majority of it,
but it pays a call from time to time,
and what I try to figure out
is where those years went--
why, it seems like only yesterday
I was witnessing one of my Mother's
many maniacal fits in that hyper
and obsessive manner of hers,
watching her rant and rave,
wondering why she was always so angry;
never physically abusive,
but oh, that look in her eyes

she seemed almost a stranger
to me at those times
much like she is now,
only back then I wasn't supposed
to be intimidated and afraid,
jumping at every little sound,
already harboring, but not fully aware
of the seed that had been sown,
the damage done,
her compulsion instilling in me
a doubt and insecurity
that would cloud my entire future

I should have been enjoying
those tender years;
the simple, care-free pleasure of
savoring an ice cream cone,
coloring outside the lines
or making mud pies after the rain...

just relishing in the wonder
the absolute, pure innocence
of not knowing


I'm 38, having written poetry for the past 17 years.
Currently back in the publishing world after having
taken a 2 year hiatus due to creative apathy and
temporary insanity--which, actually may have enhanced
my writing. It has certainly enhanced my weirdness.

I currently have a book available, "Piss On Your
Parade," up for grabs at a mere $5.00. Contact me at
bookas6670@yahoo.com







2006 Underground Voices