I DON'T BLAME YOU IF YOU CAN'T LOVE ME
I am not an easy person to love.
I take love in my hands and pull it apart
wing by wing.
I grew up on love as sacrifice and pain and
biting your tongue until your teeth meet.
I see how my grandmother treats my mother
and wonder how family can be everything if
they hurt so much.
I see my mother cry and I want to tear this world apart.
I see what my best friend’s mother has done to
her and I want to raze the earth to nothingness.
Grandmother to mother to daughter to sister
pain runs through our veins thicker than blood.
Look what we’ve done to each other.
Look what we will do first thing tomorrow
Look what we will do until the day we die.
UNLEARNING THE DROWNING
Of holding poison like a well
in my stomach.
Of trying to find the good in people who
will never treat me with kindness.
Of trying to be kind.
Of trying to be a good person.
Of trying to be a “good girl” for my
(I killed that girl a long time ago).
Of asking my mother if I’m a bad daughter
and hearing her sob on the phone.
Of asking my brother if I’m a bad sister
as I cry to “Viva La Vida” because it’s our song.
Of asking you if I’m a bad person
as I drag you deeper and deeper into my ocean.
I’m drowning you. I’m drowning them.
I’m drowning myself.
I’m tired of learning to drown instead of breathe.
I want to breathe again.
I miss the air so much.
KANIKA LAWTON is the founder and editor-in-chief of L'Éphémère Review. She writes about love, loss, and everything in between. She is working on her first poetry collection, tentatively titled Learning to Drown. She has been published in The Rising Phoenix Review and Rambutan Literary.