Heidi Slettedahl: : Lavender Burned Black

Lavender Burned Black

We burned it, my sister and I
that note you wrote on lavender paper.
The lavender burned black and fell apart.​

You slapped me when you saw
the purple black ashes
but I was numb to the tingle and neither of us cried.

Oh mother, mother, I don’t want to know
of wrinkled sheets and whispered conversations
and feel the pain of trying not to love you.

But I will not forgive the evenings
you were gone, the days
my father spent in anger, mending the cracks

in the house’s foundation
pounding the nails into soft, pliant wood
drinking warm beer

while you cooked dinner in tense, frustrated silence
we all ignored
until your anger flashed and caught me with your tongue.

You taught me lessons even in your silence,
the dance of avoidance, the masquerade.
The anger

lingers in that house you left.
It sits in the corners with the heavy dust,
A guest we don’t dare disturb.

The anger follows you,
reminds you of the ashes of your love letter
and the daughters who burned the words you wrote.

Its tendrils grasp for me
as I realize my handwriting mirrors yours.
Oh how the anger flashes when I see I write those letters too.

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