I can see you
teaching him to walk.
How his little feet stuttered
How his fingers—unbelievably tiny—
reached eagerly for yours, with your nails
that shined like Christmas.
Maybe it is Christmas.
Maybe you’re taking pictures
and laughing and beaming at him
as he tears at the paper around the scooter he always wanted.
I can see you loving him
holding him through the first broken heart
lifting him up when he was rubbing at his eyes
I can see you cheering him on
or telling him he needs to cut that damn hair
or yelling at him about cleaning his room
and then feeling a little bad about it,
and being thankful that he still loves you.
I can see you loving him, loving him, loving him,
crying at his graduation,
reminding him to wear his jacket when he goes out
trying to keep him safe.
I can see you tying his tie today,
wiping the dog’s fur from his black suit jacket,
oiling back his hair and then your own from the same jar.
I can see you steadying his hand
telling him to be honest, that justice will prevail, and you
believe every word of it—yours and his.
I can see why you hate me
for hurting him, for even having the audacity to
that he would betray you so utterly and
I can see you now, across the room, dressed all in black.
I can see you ignoring me, with the imprints of your sons fingers stamped in black on my skin,
and my legs forever shifting to avoid the tear he made between them.
And I don’t blame you.
Because if I were you I would never believe it.
I would never, never believe it.
Jennifer Jussel is a creative writing student at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She has been published most recently in The Tipton and The Trinity Review, as well as on a smattering of sites online. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, working on her novel, and thinking up stupid names for her future pug.