Care-Taker

By Brittany Watts-Hendrix

I’m good at nearly burning down kitchens,
trying to make tofu for the first time
cause you can only eat soft food for a week
& ramen ain’t vegetarian.
I’m good at holding hands
and going to bathrooms,
and corners in hospitals to cry,
after 4 months of therapy
and years of not crying.
I’m good at thinking
about my girlfriend & where I’m going
after I leave you, while you talk
about how womyn are more thorough.
I’m good at getting nervous when using ‘her’
pronouns, when you use ‘him’
like we’re talking about different people,
except who you’re talking about
never existed.
I’m good at pretending you mean no harm
when I realize you use he/him pronouns
for most everything, everybody – I can’t help
but realize the harm somebody else done to you.
Maybe that’s one of many reasons you don’t trust.
I’m good at awkward silence and hoping
the sing song of my thumb lets you know that I’m scared too
and that I’ve watched too much Grey’s Anatomy.
I’m good at recalling the one time my heart actually broke
and I could hear nothing but the night spent
in the corner of my bed, hoping for a reason for my parents to divorce
– divorce would be easier to discuss than my fathers abuse
that he seems to have forgotten about & figured disappeared
with his drunken nights –
because why would I suspect any sound
of the catch of my sisters breath hanging
from whatever she found to use?
I’m good at turning your pain
into something in my journals
I’ll read later and fake laughing
when you make excuses for covering
your face when you cry and changing
the subject. You say it’s okay
but don’t really mean it.
I don’t know how to handle lies like that.
I lie on your lap and fall asleep
cause I’m not good at staying awake
when pain won’t let you rest.

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