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.
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.