(18/30) Shreds

The prompt for day eighteen over at NaPoWriMo: find a poem, use a piece a paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem…I used a poem by Stanley Kunitz entitled The Portrait <--- (click here for original poem)

(The lines I added are in italics)

My mother never forgave my father
cursed his name with every unused breath
for killing himself,

leaving us
especially at such an awkward time
before my arrival
and in a public park,
of all places
that spring
in April
when I was waiting to be born
and waiting to meet him.

She locked his name
away forever
in her deepest cabinet
shrunken, cowering
and would not let him out,
no matter what was right
though I could hear him thumping
like my heart through my clothes.

When I came down from the attic
weary from reminiscing,
with the pastel portrait in my hand
fingertips grasping memories
of a long-lipped stranger
whose face mirrored mine
with a brave moustache
stubble, resembling 40 grit sandpaper
and deep brown level eyes,
the color of earth and magic

she ripped it into shreds
pieces failing like misshapen snowflakes
without a single word
she drew back
and slapped me hard
time echoing the pain.

In my sixty-fourth year
my face remembers
I can feel my cheek
still burning
my skin is melting.