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The Best We Could Do

A Poem About Forgiveness

“The end of friendships and relationships often leave people feeling lost and angry. I wrote this poem to reconcile my own feelings, in order to move forward. I think it is important to examine ourselves and our upbringings in an honest way to truly learn from our pasts.”

I hold onto my bitterness like

I know no other way to mourn,

like it sits easier in my mouth than forgiveness,

like my body never learned how to let go,

how to recognize a dead thing when I feel it.

 

Maybe I let myself be swallowed

because I trust the belly of a man to keep me warmer

than my own skin,

and, perhaps, he knew no other way to be full.

Perhaps we only knew how to love

like two children playing in the dark,

listening to the echos

of things our parents never knew they were saying-

watching our parents break their own hearts

and playing imitation games.

 

He comes from a long line of men

whose fathers gave them nothing but advice,

men who broke their own spines

to stand upright,

and do not know how to unwind the day,

how to just ask for love.

 

And I

come from a long line of women

who knew how to give until they were empty bottles,

who shrank to make room

for full bellied men,

who made internalization look like an art form.

 

It’s no one’s fault,

not ours or our parents’ or our parents’ parents.

 

And I guess forgiveness starts here,

with the throat,

with wrenching apology from our bones,

and saying

this

was the best we could do,

and we

are not so different after all.

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