Mother said: “Look after your sister!”
What she meant was: Take these
burdens off my shoulders, I am
no longer able to cope.
Father said: “Do as I say, not as I do!”
What he meant was: I don’t have
the wherewithal to deal with my own
problems, so don’t bring me yours.
Sister said: “Be a good auntie!”
What she meant was: I am too
young to be a mother, and you are so
much more responsible, please take on
the consequences of my poor choices.
So I ran away to build my own life.
Met a man and married, bought a house,
had children and hopes and dreams
for a future that would erase the past.
Husband said: “If you really loved me
you’d try harder to lose weight, be less
effusive in public, control your temper,
and be more supportive of my choices.
What he meant was: I’m going to grind
you so far into the ground and then I’m
going to cheat and cheat and you’ll have
nothing left inside to do anything about it.
And without a word, I left, and
what I meant was: I am a real person
with needs and faults and limitations
and it’s about time I honour me.