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Life-Time Campaign

By Gabriela Leon

My mother apologizes like a politician:

With tight-lipped words

And murmured platitudes.

She asks that I forgive her

For what she says she's done to me;

It is the ultimate burden of proof.

Because the scars that hurt the least to earn,

The ones for the world to see,

Have all now faded.

Yet the ones that lasted longer still bleed

And those are always hidden

To everyone except for me.

They manifest in the itchiness of my fingers,

In the cold sweat that sprouts around strangers,

In the shame of spaghetti straps on my skin.

The scars that mattered

Still matter

Will always matter

Spill from my lips at midnight

As I ask God for a forgiveness I've long given.

My mother's apologies are hollow

Like the words of a swindler with a catch And

after all is said and done,

And the grief and the trauma's come to pass,

The only peace I found was in the silence.

In her absence.


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