Christmas table beautifully decorated
but with hope about as high as my knees,
that’s what made me crawl underneath &
made me hide from his temper
under the big round pine table that day
pressing my tiny little fingers
into bullet holes in the wood:
« gunshot wounds to my childhood »
My sister holding me there,
“ons huil nie hieroor nie”
(we don’t cry over this)
My brother desperately trying
to keep everyone safe,
to keep the brandy bottle away,
to make him stop.
My sister died years later.
The brandy bottle found my brother
in mourning on his big sister’s funeral
holding his little sister’s hand
he lost his way,
it was the only way he knew.
Brandy tasted even better
by white lines of destruction;
white lies of temporary happiness
to soothe the black web of sin
until he too, went missing.
I survived, I made it through
but memories of a Merry Christmas
are far too few.
So yes, call me spoiled again
because I set out to get what I want
but never forget that
strength & determination
seed from the same place.
I have no scars to show you
but if you look carefully
you will see
the gaping bullet hole
with tiny little fingers
still trying to cover up my soul…