The ambulance came and carried the river
of your anger and despair to a place with locks.
Now my life is like mom’s old Revere Ware pan—
warped on the bottom, copper tarnished. Forever altered
but still useful if cooked in with care, hot spots aboil
beside the cooler parts and needing to be stirred.

There is no atlas for this journey. They said
you are a danger to yourself and me. How you wanted
to grab the steering wheel after I picked you up
shuddering in the college parking lot, longing to turn the car
head-on into a semi-truck. Two weeks now
in a locked psychiatric ward.

You didn’t know I heard you pour poison into dad’s ear:
Don’t let Mom get away with anything. You have to fight her!
Shout her down! Take her down!

Your inner narrative is chewing the time
of your childhood into a tale so false
my breath is caged, my heart a thrashing clock bruising
inside my chest:
I was abused. Mom abused me.
I don’t know how to turn this venom back to a life
not gritty with pain. When does a clock stop
for trying? I downshift gears, mapless.