a few years ago
I watched my grandma die.
about two years later
looking for answers and peace and a new story
I wrote about her
and how her leaving changed everything.
impossible to ignore
was her ex-husband's place in the story.
a man I never met
and about whom I have nothing good to say.
when I wrote about her
I found it necessary to include him,
tangentially, at least,
but I could only write about his shadow
and the echoes he left behind in us.
because I didn't know him from birthday cards
or Thanksgiving dinners
or stories from the war:
I knew him only by his absence
and the holes he had carved.
what I had to say was cruel.
it was spiteful and made of vengeance
a retaliation for the people I loved
and despite its truth (or my understanding of it)
I think it
may have caused some unintended collateral damage.
and then today
"the man I've never met" became "the man I'd never meet."
so now I look over those words
the fruit of my instinctive, vicious reflexes
and I hate myself for not being good enough
to want forgiveness.