Sorry, not Sorry

Stop saying you’re sorry
Don’t apologize
Wipe that fake smile on your face
His exasperation
The tightness in my jaw
Feeling weak
Wobbling on my spiked heels
I’m sorry, I will try harder.

I’m sorry, the delivery nurse said.
I didn’t see it at first
The twelve o’clock red line on my son’s face
He had scratched his own face
While they did what they do
Lance his feet to draw blood for iron count
Put drops in his eyes
Inspect his parts
Coldly, clinically.

I’m sorry, my lawyer said.
When I wasn’t able to get child support for over a year
When my son was still nursing
I’m sorry, I whispered in his moist hair
My son’s mouth opened and his eyes filled with tears
When I had to walk away.

I’m sorry, the Special Ed Regional Director said.
He may never talk. We just don’t know.
I looked at the table,
I could not look at my son.
I reached for the pen,
Signed the offer –
Stacks of papers that said
I accepted the maximum that they could provide
30 hours a week
Physical Therapy
Speech Therapy
Sensory Integration Therapy
For my silent son.

I’m sorry, my son’s father said.
We had just left our son’s Special Ed meeting
I can’t take him, he said
I brought my motorcycle. You get him this weekend.
I’m sorry I told my employer at Whole Foods
I can’t work the deli thinly slicing prosciutto all weekend on my feet wearing my hairnet
I have no childcare
They did not apologize
When they took me off the schedule and mailed my last paycheck.

I’m sorry my son told me
I thought if I didn’t tell you
I would get coal in my stocking for Christmas.
My son told me:
I was raped / I thought that he was joking / then I realized it was too late.

I’m sorry, the senior member of the school board later told me,
I am so sorry, I want you to know
How truly sorry I am.

I’m sorry, I told my son.
I told him to turn off his video game
But I didn’t tell him that the
Sound of gunfire Triggered my PTSD
I took my tiny pills
I placed books on his bed
Gave him cold filtered water
From the fridge.


Capella Parrish writes from the underbelly of life. Obviously she turned left instead of right and she found out the hard way that she had to touch the stove to know that it was hot and got burned as a high class escort, prostitute, stripper, NYC dominatrix, firefighter EMT and medic student. This is her first Nonfiction poem published. Poetry is a stretch for her but she enjoys the burn of forced constraints. She is a first-year MFA Creative Nonfiction candidate with an emphasis in Narrative / Poetic Medicine at Dominican University of California.