By Kiran Dhillon
I could feel the unrelenting stare burning into me,
As I tried not to make eye contact.
I was not his.
Not even my own.
I don’t know who he thought he was.
Bulldozing my walls. Flashing his PI ID at me.
As a warrant to do so.
You are like my daughter.
And he got offended if I contradicted.
Didn’t let me be free.
Or be me.
I had hair on my chin.
He’d stare at it.
Who the fuck was he?
He wasn’t my father.
Clenched the keys to my home,
Free to enter as he pleased.
Rearranging my thoughts and emotions.
He ignored the caution tape,
Ignored the traumatic scene it enclosed.
Like he didn’t have blood on his hands,
It didn’t exist. Not to his knowledge.
I wanted him out..
I wanted to place him on a new shelf,
Upon moving into a new home.
I couldn’t keep doing this,
Running from myself.
This was my one home,
It broke my heart,
That it didn’t feel like mine.
The caution tape was sacred,
The yellow elastic expanding
As much as it could.
Accommodating for validation.
But I had hair on my chin.
And it would stay.
Because it wasn’t why
My exsanguinated corpse
And all its dreams, its glorious intensity,
Lie lifelessly inside the caution tape.
Oh no, that was the poison
That had seeped into my skin
All those years.
No. It was rather the reminder
That I could water my resilience.
That I had to break the windows,
So that my love could pour in.
That my intimacy with myself
Was the only intimacy I needed to cultivate.
Before sex. Before I gave the keys to my home
To someone I could intimately love.
Someone I wanted to be intimate with.
I didn’t recall giving him those keys,
As a young woman.
The answer was simple, yet so hard:
Change the locks.