The House was A Mess and So Was I by Lindsay Young

My father is an infinite house, bleeding

A safety always changing shape. I love

Him deliberate and patiently. He is full

Of shit and I adore him. I call him mine

And mean it. But never without guilt

Everything he owns, he has broken

I have loved what has been broken

By him. Been made a surrogate of bleeding

And that has not stopped me from choking guilt

To death. Such a thick and relentless love

My father is a fist of complexity. My father is mine

And I am just a vessel made full

He calls my mother into every room until it is full

Shakes every wall loose and broken

Until the begging also becomes mine

My father is an enemy of her absence. Bleeding

Steady just to drown it. Picking love

From its white knuckles and spitting at guilt

I sometimes make his burdens mine

Sometimes make a mosaic of guilt

To give light some room, hands bleeding

And gripping and scraping and full

I don’t want my house to be broken

I cover everything inside it with my love

When my mother left, I returned to child love

Walked backward into the smallest skin of mine

Watched my father decay. A broken

Shadow. A merciless tantrum of guilt

In her absence, I’m afraid of what makes him full

Wonder if he will slowly flatten from the bleeding

My parents made a broken love,

What’s mine has always been bleeding.

Guilt, what has always kept us full. 

Lindsay Young is a queer, Black poet from Long Island, New York. Lindsay was crowned a 2018 NUPIC (National Underground Poetry Individual Competition) Co-Champion. She was a member of the 2019 Brooklyn Slam team, and was part of their poetry production that premiered in Antigua in the Summer of 2019. She is the author of “Salt to Taste,” her debut book of poetry, which was published the Summer of 2019. She is a Winter Tangerine alumnus, a 2020 Watering Hole fellow, and her work has been published in The Fem Lit Magazine, The Offing Magazine, and featured on Blavity and SlamFind. She currently works for nonprofit organizations as a counselor and workshop facilitator, largely servicing youth of color.

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