The Abductee's Daughter
Poem by Theresa Boyar   •   Photo by Sunny Williams

After a while we learned to whisper
around your ragged returns, those mornings
we found you curled with the cutlery, your lap
full of forks and bread knives.  When you rose
from the clatter, your first steps were like a toddler's:
barefoot and tenuous, unsure the floor
was real enough to support you.
Always you moved toward the cabinet
that mother had emptied in your absence.  Hollow
slam of the cupboard door and a sinking onto
the linoleum:  a collapsed man, your muscles
twitching beneath your skin.  You asked for help
to the bathtub, slumped into it and your jeans
darkened under the pour of warmth.  We left you
like that, tiptoed to the door and beyond, came back
in the evenings only reluctantly.  The jostle of leaves,
friction of crickets beyond our bedroom window
kept us awake for hours, and sleep came skimpily,
too slender and short a release
from the tension of wondering when
our home would shake and murmur once again
with the thunder of your brightly lit departure.

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