Poetry Archive

Floorboards Hold Memory

The fear of the darkness kept me away from the fuzzy lavender carpet
I harken the spirit in me that rather dance the night away
That keeps the buried grief at bay
That rather explore the unexplained
And dance
Twirling in the tv light in my fear
Ears perked for the footsteps
One-two…one-two… the legato beats boom through the base of the floorboards
The ceiling above creaks, telling me who’s around the corner by analyzing these beats
My dad the offbeat rhythm
But no base beats harder and firmer than the steps of my mother’s
Who empties her anger into the carpet until it pounds the floorboards
Words never spoken, come alive in her walk
The way she washes the dishes as if breaking them would be the better solution
But her voice barely louder than a whisper
so as not to break the eggshells under our feet that linger
In the space deep beneath the floorboards
It’s safer this way to release the pent-up aggression in words unsaid
It’s how I’ve learned to twirl in my temper and escape from my bed
It’s how I dance in tune with the tv until the sun finds me again
Until the legato base pumps in like the South Florida heat
All in a hurry I hear urgent whispers
Surprised for the umpteenth-time at my face
Like “rise and shine!” and we settle into the comfort of the morning
Until she departs and with it I feel a piece of my heart hold its breath
Like how the night suffocates the Sun and the only thing to do is find the rhythm of the drum
Late morning heat sets in and one-two…one-two…followed by the cigarette smoke and calling of my name
The clanking of ice in a shaker cup filled to the brim with water
In some ways I think that it’s his only piece of his father left
Who saw to the bottom of bottles and didn’t bother to ask for help
I watch him sip slowly and tried to understand what I felt
The rhythm now in my chest
Heart racing with panic of the sleepless
I tip toe away on eggshells and nestle into the safety of the sunlight’s rest
Until we meet again
Sweet songs of the night
Dancing in terror was how I found my delight

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Filed under: Poetry Archive


Kemi Ducasse is a Writer and Artist that believes in the power of Art to alchemize emotions for deep-healing and self-discovery. Writing is the first form of creating that essentially gave her a voice and a place to belong. In her work, she engages ancestral and familial wounds, relationships, emotions, being embodied, and introspective self-examination. Currently, her practice has broadened in medium to include exploration through textile, sculpture, and other artisan practices. Kemi is of Haitian roots, from Miami, Florida and currently living in Los Angeles, California.