MEMORANDUM FOR THE MOTHER OF MY HUSBAND
Apr 18 ● BY Daniel Garcia
Subject: MEMORANDUM FOR THE MOTHER OF MY HUSBAND
Date: Sometime after that night in the practice room seven years ago, where I shook in the
corner with sweaty thighs while he wailed for me to stay; a Dasani bottle cast off,
dark with wine.
To: See subject (I never got the bitch’s name; he never told me).
From: Myself, who, upon examination, meets a wound along the underside of a life before
my [not yet-still-loved-with-similar-desperation] husband’s tender hands which,
despite years of therapy, still threatens to rupture with grotesque hew of soft light.
To rupture with grotesque hew of soft light: / I forgive the world because it gave your son / to me.
Don’t ask how I could, ask why I feign / at being a wife [a word I pronounce /
like priests do] with my cuffless finger. / It’s you. The man I thought I’d meet / at the altar was
just a mess to clean. / Are you proud? I would
become a good bride, / your son said you touched him. Where I come from, / this makes
him a man. A eulogy I’d / give my life’s end—I do, in health & / sickness—means nothing /
when I think who’s / responsible. For the sickness, I mean. / With him, I’ve only ever been left
I’ve only ever been left alone with him, wanting /
to be closer, to have only a veil / be the last thing between us before this / new life at his
side, to end all my days / in his arms. I’ll get to why soon; for now I’ll / tell you what I would
give him: a crown, / adorned with sunrise. & I’d say, / all this blue gazing down at / the world, my
love: that’s what you are to me. / & he’d give me a ring: corporeal, / the opposite of unshed blood, a vow
to stay / for better or for worse. Sometimes I dream /
I can fix him if I try hard enough. / Here is what happened:
he touched me in a black room.
Here is what happened: he touched me. In a black room / called memory I recall a thin beam—
the dim light of a hallway, peering / through the window over the door. The
world’s / oldest blade, [a man’s hand] the arm teaching / it flight. The destination:
my face, / the corner he backed me into. Soundproofed / walls, a lock on the door. A startled drum
/ where a heart sits, a heaven swaddled with / thirst sated with poison, refusal I didn’t / know
how to give. Boundaries crumpled / to dust; I was falling for him well before / this
night. What escapes God’s eyes in this room / here is how hard I scrubbed in the
Here is how hard I scrubbed: in the morning, / my skin was all that could scream tua culpa. / & I
stood before the debris beside / a single dead sun with a halo only / trauma could stillbirth
between us: Mommy / loves you, he’d said. Mommy loves you. /
Here is how I’m different: circle the eye / of my mind with me, learn what you’ve done: / see
me fail to save myself from that night. / See me lift a marker, hear the song / I’ve learned
to sing: survival—the bright red / X I placed on my life before—
this man / I named love so I recall why
he scares me.
/ [This was the only way I could get out.]
This was the only way I could get out: / gladiator. I forgave him because I knew / it was as
close to an apology / (Mommy loves you) as I’d get. Gentlest / of lions who taught me shame
so I could strip / from it—the freedom came though memory, / not battle: the rain on his
shoulders, summer / smile, his mouth sinking into mine. / If trauma is the starved jaw slack in the
dark / corner of the arena, then
love— / my blazing sword & shield—is what I crawled / from the rupture with, this thing
I called healing. / I thought if I fixed him, I could fix / all the parts of me I named unlovable.
I named all the parts of me unlovable. / I know the reason he’d replicate / memory on a body:
Desperation— / to be victor, not victim. We’re not so unlike: I thieve his ghost, return us /
to the altar of my eyes, take him as / my groom. What you’d call kidnapping, I call / agency, revenge,
love. There’ll be no lineup / to point him in, only this. gap / I can’t close; I can’t name him
monster without / the one he survived. I’ll end here: I will / put you in hell if we meet. Thank you—
you’ve shown me some crimes are so tall even /
God tilts His head to meet them
in the eye.