Selective Alphabets

He gets you by the throat and slams you up against the refrigerator.
He’s screaming in your face.
“You bitch! YOU BITCH!”
He spits in your face again & again.
He punches you in the chest, breaks blood vessels.
You wear that red & purple spider for the rest of your days.

I have similar decorations:
A tooth turned in from when Little He threw an unopened can of Pepsi,
A red worm busted capillary on my arm to remind me.
Bruises and bite marks are gone, but I can still see ghost marks where the fingernails dug into my thigh.
A selective alphabet, spelled out on flesh.
It tells us where we’ve been, how far we’ve run.

To be held down young is to learn you can be held down.
To be forever waiting for that moment to be recreated,
When you realize that you cannot move.
You are helpless and the person responsible for your immobility is highly amused at your helplessness.

Someone is laughing an inch away from your face.
They are laughing because they know they have won.

Scratch across the record now.
“You can always fight.”
Know this, little child:
Sometimes you are just fucking beaten.
Maybe it makes for a core of resilience, but Christ is it depressing.

He throws you off your vanity stool and wraps the hair dryer cord around your neck.
He’s screaming in your face.
“Something! SOMETHING!” that is unheard, despite his volume.
She reaches up toward Little He, wordlessly begging for him to intervene.
He does nothing, and she throws it in his face over the years that follow.
He is frozen, I am frozen, we are stopped.
We don’t know the spark, only the blaze.
We learn to live in aftermath.
We learn to watch for it.

Someone always spills a drink, fights too loudly, wakes him up.
I see him always storming, comically charging in his underwear.
Or devouring fried chicken, Krispy Kremes, tuna and onions doused in olive oil.
Consuming our fear, our restlessness, our shame.
And the man does not change.
He tells me he did the best he could.
The tragic fact is that he did.
We got the best he had to give.
It’s a thing we own.

~ by Athena on May 21, 2014.

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