Even now she says
the family moved because of me:
my plump young needs,
the better schools.
I had to learn
She left Palisades the year
they started selling horse meat
in the cafeteria. I would have made
the honor roll, she says,
if it weren’t for that, and
if I hadn’t met your father.
I listen, but it all unravels quickly
when I’m told her teeth fell out
because she didn’t brush them,
that she never slept with anyone,
not even our mechanic,
that she only smoked pot
twice a year.
I gather them carefully, the half-truths
she abandons, so I can
start to write what’s been
cut out from the whole.
I dreamt of plane crashes
two days after I got engaged—
full holds, a woman screaming,
hundreds of wrists clutching
at seat belt clasps. I watched
the Atlantic rise, swell and swallow
the metal, my lungs filling up
with salt water, tiny fish
mouthing in panic. It happened
again and again—the terrible fear,
the crashing until the early morning hours
when I woke, wide-eyed and sweating,
and you slipped your arms around me,
hauling my body back to dry land
so I could breathe again.
Christina Thatcher is a PhD student and postgraduate tutor at Cardiff University where she studies how creative writing can impact the lives of people bereaved by addiction. Christina keeps busy off campus too by delivering creative writing workshops across South Wales, running projects for organizations like Making Minds and the Welsh Writers Trust, coordinating literature events for the Made in Roath Festival, and more. Her poetry and short stories have featured in a number of publications including The London Magazine, Planet Magazine, and the Lampeter Review. Her first collection, More than you were, was shortlisted in Bare Fiction’s Debut Poetry Collection Competition in 2015 and published by Parthian Books in 2017. Twitter @writetoempower.