The Narcissist’s Martyr
I remember your budding, strange strange love while in high school & the red hum of my face’s cheek one night of your drinking & candid speech. your mechanical hand slapped my face cracking the porcelain calm. meat below me on a plate grilled, yellow caramelized onions butter coating the steak your words filling the air. stumbling. straggling. loosening to hug me that was really a noose. lashes & whippings. christened skin.
& then a night when I was in my 20s you told me: you’re too ugly, and will be too poor for marriage. teachers don’t make enough. no woman will want you. & the stars were drowning. a few fish eggs tucked in the stomach of a predator. breath prying for space. & I didn’t talk back, but cried like a screen door opening & closing. & hungered for a normal kind of love. A righteous love. “Love” love.
later as morning pushed night, before blackness was bucked by light, I stretched my face over the pool & looked at my reflection & saw my wooly long hair & could’ve sworn my face had the chops not of a man but a ram, coated as black, and my horns were ground down, shorn, to the skin dust to dust
mother, your love was fickle & cruel & Old Testament
but I still raised my voice & bleated to the sky, cheering thy name, crying for
more! more! more!
Colin James Sturdevant is an ELA high school teacher and received his BA in English – Creative Writing, Fiction – at the University of Houston. His work has appeared in Rufous City Review, Banango Street., Glass Mountain, Zaum – Sonoma State University’s Litrerary Magazine. He hopes to start an indie lit mag to publish middle school and high school poetry from the nation and beyond someday.