You Killed My Mother

a poem by Amy Pugsley

I know it was you… you killed my mother. 
Your free. She isn’t. 
She’s gone.
I’m gone.
Your face, your hair, your voice…all embedded into my memory.
Like red wine on the Persian rug.
Your story is now my story.
Sandalwood, vanilla, prostitute.

That first day you appeared, I remember it like a picture.
The borrowed white suburban, the snow, the cold and your stupid questions.
You wanted a job.
You asked if was a family business.
You knew.
Snow falling slowly in the back alley.
Go to the liquor store. 
I should have known.

White, bright, slippery, unfathomable.
Smoking shisha as if the magic of the Middle East would set us free.
How perfect it all was, we were perfect.
Weren’t you from the Middle East too?
Go to the liquor store.
Grape mint please, double apple please. 

Time was still and perfect.
Beautiful.
Slow.
A blur that you made stand still and then stop.
Your hair, your seduction, your lies.
The darkness of the basement after hours.
Go to the grocery store.
Should I have known?

The cars in the back ally, leaves on the street, I can see it now.
Cigarette smoke.
Laughter.
Slowly you slipped in between the cracks.
Cracks between the spaces between the back stairs.
Spaces between the smoke rings.
Your breath, your breasts, your hips, your arrogance.
You knew.
You knew all along.
Slowly you acted and the grip tightened.
You wanted him and it killed her.
Is it a family business you asked?
I was stupid and high. 

I know it was you.
You killed her slowly.
Slower than onions cooking in the kitchen.
Slower than a camel in the desert.
Slower than the years past from Africa to Europe to Canada.
Slow like a shot of gin. The slow taste of a cold domestic beer.
Slow, so slow.
Slow.
Like… a piece of a body being torn open. 

Loud, hot, slow, smoky.
Killed her with each kiss, killed her with each lie you told.
You came each night with your suitcases of baggage.
Inserted yourself there like smoke through the cracks in the wall.
Your kid, your problems, your past and your thick black heart.
Dark, sad, pain. 
Slow, ripping, pain.
Bodies opening, bodies closing, bodies hurting.

You knew you were killing her. Slowly each day.
You didn’t care.
This was a family business.
Is this a family business you kept asking?
Asking… again and again.
Why didn’t I stop you?
You mattered. You mattered more than her, mattered more than me.
You mattered more than all of us.
Only you mattered.
Slowly… it was only you.

She died of a broken heart.
Not right away but slowly each day.
Slowly.
Each day of the affair was digging deeper and deeper into us.
Your pants left haphazardly in the kitchen.
Your messages blinking on his phone.
Your sly smiles and red lipped lies.
Deeper and deeper with more secrets and lies.
No blood, no murder scene, just your guilt.
Your choices.
The blood is hers and it’s on your hands. 

You ripped out a piece of my heart.
Ripped it slow, l should have known. 
Is this a family business?
You knew.
All along, you knew.
Now the blood is dropping.
Stuck between your fingers.
Under your long fake nails.
In your nest of dark curls.
Off your eyelashes and down your cheeks.
In the cracks of your creamy olive skin. 

You killed my mother.
You don’t have to tell me.
I know.
You don’t have to confess.
You know.
We both knew it was a family business.
You wanted in at any cost.
The water runs slow.
The iron smell of blood.
The deep red blood won’t leave.
A piece of my heart is missing.
It’s stuck to the blood, to the blood covering your hands and heart and soul.
It was my family’s business.
When your done trying to wash the blood from your hands.
Please go to the liquor store.

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