9-18 Telling Stories

We counselors have heard some disturbing histories from our clients. This one is largely accurate. It is usually therapeutic when someone tells his or her story.

Telling Stories

In dark corners voices narrate

their lives, some strewn as

potato skins thrown to crows.


Dad beat me like he’d beat a man.

He was just mean and used to go to bars

to hurt people. One night

by a tomato row he grabbed ma’s head.

His thumb gouged her eye socket and

he dragged her nearly through the backyard.

Her eye bulges to this day. Ma never left him


even when he was off raising godalmighty hell.


Silt rose in my throat.


It ended when he was drunk out

on the couch and I beat him

and beat him and beat him with an egg skillet

until he opened a bloodshot eye

and I held a hawkbill by his eyeball

‘If you lay a hand on me again . . ..’


He never touched me after that.

Hardly ever eyeballed me, either.


He fluffs his beard with a mussel-shell thumbnail.

Shedding drop by drop, he is quenched.


What redemption can my pity bring?


Mine is the glint of blade across opened eyes.