sanity quilt

some people make crazy quilts

i was swaddled in one
wrapped up snug as a little bug

homemade, hand-stitched
confusing chaotic predictable patterns
all within the square angles of a bound rectangle

it was warm
there was warmth
warmth might be what saved me
warmth was confusing
warmth made me crazy

the three commandments in an alcoholic family:
don’t talk     don’t trust     don’t feel
like those three monkeys
hearing, seeing, and speaking no evil

those commandments weren’t cross-stitched and framed on any wall
they were never spoken
but i learned them without thinking—like the abc’s

if you want to get by, survive
you obey

you wrap yourself up in your crazy quilt
and obey, hoping for the best
the best being a lesser evil than the ones you’ve known

i was mostly obedient
all i wanted was to be good
how can i be good?
what will make me good?

i hoped other people could make me good
they’d certainly made me feel bad
so it stood to reason

when you’re 46
[you see the crazy for who it was
you finally believe it wasn’t you]

when you’re 46
you’re lovingly unpiecing, untangling
teasing apart the threads
and the fabrics
and the patterns
of the crazy quilt you inherited
you keep all the pieces
you’ve come to love all the pieces
you treasure them and hold them close

but you rearrange them
you pick them up and set them down

you decide
where they best work in the quilt you are redesigning
from the scraps and the threads
from the pieces and the parts
from the cuts and the colors
you were swaddled in

you design your own sanity quilt




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