I’m not coming home

I’m not coming home

I spent years trying to escape my burning home
The house was fine
But the walls inside we’re black with soot
The flames that I felt the scalding heat from
Lapped at my skin
Leaving burns in the places most people don’t see
The air inside is thick with smoke
It covered my mouth
Like a grey leather glove pressed against my lips
Fighting for breath
With my parents hands fitting so perfectly over my voice
The matches we lit ignited the carpets
They burned and burned with the alcohol flooding the rooms
From my mother’s empty wine bottles
They blazed so high
But so silently that there was nothing anyone could do
My lovers would see the ash on my skin
And weep with me
Because no matter how much I was being flamed
When there’s no real fire to put out
What can they do to save me?
I spent eighteen years fighting the fire in my home
I spent so long trying to hide from the heat
And longer soothing my burns
But now I am free
I am getting my breath back
With every exhale I set loose the smoke inside of me
Sometimes I am even scared to talk to people
Because of the stench of burning flesh on my breath
I got out less than a month ago
The air is cooler on the other side
The little fires inside of me still roar
When I hear my mother’s voice down the phone
And I smell the smoke on her tongue she speaks
I am reminded of the walls I fought to escape from
I feel the grief of the things I’ve left behind
Which have turned to dust
I grieve and I grieve and I grieve
For the home that I never knew
For the mother I didn’t save
And I burn for the father with matches in his back pocket.
The new skin I’m growing covers up
The parts of me that could never breathe
What a gift to no longer be suffocated
What a gift to be able to tell my father,
The one who built the home that he set ablaze,
That no matter how much you ask for me to forgive you,
I escaped the chains I was bound in
I survived the fire
I’m so sorry
But I can’t
I’m not coming home.

By Emma Catherine


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