I was five. My mother and father fought often enough for me to believe
there was a world I couldn’t fix. I stuffed my wet sheets in the chute most mornings and did anything but drift down to the kitchen, dark on one side and light on the other, my bowl of cereal waiting for me. Their love for me was immense, measured, I suppose, by their need for me to look away from failure. Theirs. Mine. I studied the wallpaper, the repeating trees of winter drawn with pen and ink. Bleak and, for this reason, beautiful, to someone whose pain was both present and postponed, the stripped-down trees paralleled my small venture down the stairs. I look at the scar on my arm from the time I ran down those stairs and crashed through the glass door. The old seam of skin widens then fades into the palm’s history of guilt and guilt’s evasion. The cut came when my arm snapped back through the jagged glass. Now my mother and father float above me, cloth white bandages covering their flawed eyes.