predisposition

Tricia Amiel

there was no genetic
fuck up
in my beautiful four year old
brain
i could already read 
dr. seuss
and etch my own scribbles
in the covers and on pages
that inspired me
because i wanted to 
write too

but then he lifted the 
soft swaddling covers away
from my tiny precious 
body
where it lay across 
miniscule hips

he pushed and dug out
my girlhood
as i lay silently weeping
and then

my little brilliant 
brain
said no, we cannot
remember this tomorrow 
we cannot
i’ll protect you, it said
we’ll forget

every time he moved 
the covers away
doing violence to my innocence 
me and my brain forgot

it took me outside myself 
i floated near the ceiling
watching, forgetting 

for eleven years
one too many

still, it was my 
body
that remembered first
not the gentle, crying
machine
in my head

it came apart in 
little pieces
“the ultimate in growing pains”
one of the doctors concluded

there was no genetic
fuck up
in my brilliant brain

he planted shameful
seeds there
that grew roots
and fed
watered by circumstance
eating
growing branches of 
suicidal ideation 
blossoming bipolar nightmares

still 
graduating magna cum
cum laude
laude
still 
moving from seuss
to morrison 
still

there was no genetic fuck up
no part of my gentle machine
did this

it was his hands
alone
his hands tearing at
my tender flesh

not any part
of me
is to blame