I Witnessed A Drowning - Poem by Andrew Herrera
As soon as he was gone she changed.
As in never the same. As in
she’d gone through a complete mental breakdown
and I had front row seats to the worst show of my life.
Six bullets took my brother one night,
and they took a part of my mother with them as well,
because every time I looked up,
her eyes had tears,
her nose was red,
and her face was blank.
She’d look away and “sorry”
seemed to be the only word that I could say.
I could never say that everything would be okay
because day to day everything was different
and day to day I walked behind her,
leaving footprints in the train of tears she left behind,
waiting for her to crumble, and ready to catch her.
Though she was too heavy for me to hold,
I still felt the responsibility to cushion her downfall
and it happened often, but that, that was all I could do.
After that, I had to watch her descend into complete darkness
and sometimes she was gone for weeks without any word.
Not one word.
She was physically present, yes, but, her mind was gone
and I watched my mother sink deep into the cold abyss of depression
and not even try to get to the surface.
She’d float with an expressionless face
And eyes that stared into nothing.
I have no doubt that she was searching for him.
But did she find him?
I can never know, but can’t help but wonder.
This was my childhood.
Most of it was spent wondering and waiting.
Waiting for the answers to come floating to the surface,
and for her to break through,
gasping for air and ready to come home.
But, when she did, all I could see was her blank face,
looking down at me, not knowing what to say, so
once again, she’d turn away
and I’d open my mouth to say
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