Don't boil the water twice
I come from a long line of guilty conscience, conscious of the pain we inflict on the next generation but unable to stop ourselves collecting their dues. Softening the inevitable collective blows of history only to double back for the sucker punch and deliver it with force, only to rip heartache out of silence and our deepest most present fear—a necessity as we refuse abandonment, refuse anything less than utter abandonment of everything but us, refuse anything less than total dedication, perfect discipline and unbending loyalty. Guilt is our weapon and we wield it with abandon, shamelessly.
Someday, will my daughter resent the burden I place on her spine? Will she know there was no other way? That I had to, it had to be and she had to feel it in every bone? In her flesh? That it was just family folklore, carrying on, dominoes hitting one into the next into the next generation, the hairs on her neck standing upright in a moment of futile resistance, this, in our blood, is all there is. You, your life, are mine.
We understand perfectly, wordlessly, the stakes.
Tonight my skin prickles like it’s covered in invisible bugs and I stand dripping wet in my towel and tell myself things must be a certain way, the way they are. There is no space for questions here, don’t you love her?
if resentment is the cost of teaching duty it is a small price to pay, is it not?
Never boil water twice
Use the small forks only
Take your pills
I made eggs for us
/You’ll regret this/
Whoever created the elements forgot to tell us that guilt is a force of nature too.