The Worst Day

By Jason Sweeney

Editor's Note: This poem was written by a resident of Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community, which provides recovery-oriented transitional housing, counseling, and services for homeless individuals.
Lighthouse sent two writers-in-residence to Fort Lyon this year to help participants explore personal histories and provide a forum for practicing creative exploration. This piece was produced during writer-in-residence Alexandra Donovan's stay at Fort Lyon this summer. For more information about the Fort Lyon residency, click here.

The day the desert sun blazed brightly

wet and glistening I climbed out of the pool.

I thought the time was unremarkable, like any other;

hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I see myself a fool.


As I set across the threshold of my house

I saw friends and family gathered in my home.

Incongruous I saw my mother collapsed and weeping;

though so surrounded, she seemed totally alone.


Her sobs filled me with a sense of dread and panic;

being only seven, I couldn’t fathom why.

I had felt her anger, the rod, the lash

but never to that day had I seen my mother cry.


To her side I rushed and asked her what was wrong,

and through gasping breaths and tears she said

with a world-shattering voice, like a banshee’s song,

my mother told me: “Jason, your dad is dead.”


Frozen in a moment that bordered on the infinite—

hate, sorrow, grief—knowing that I was the one to blame,

a self-delivered .38 slug’s impact did reverberate

rending my reality apart. My life would never be the same.


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