Untitled from Anthology

When I was 7, I saw hell

possess the skin of my father.

There was a madman's fury

Simmering in him, his eyes orbs of darkness

and dementia.

I expected flames to erupt into

life around him,

burning us all but there was only stillness.

Nothing except the salt

trailing down my cheeks and disappointment

coating my tongue.

 

His movements became lightning quick,

skin striking skin in a blur.

Time stilled. Breaths were abandoned. And a bruise

flowered across her cheek.

 

At 10, this was no longer a

rare occurrence.

The Easter bunny was still

Real.

but silence after 6:00 was not.

Anger took refuge under the devil's skin.

The devil took us to church.

Holy water never stung him but my mother

flinched every time and that's when I knew

God abandoned us.

Abandoned me.

 

My mother's face was a

patchwork quilt of blues and purple skein

beneath paper skin. She

never spoke much but her smile was this

permanent fixture.

 

My poor mother, always smiling even when he

would use her body as the canvas for

his manic art.

 My poor mother, painted in

black and blue,

purple and yellow.

So colourful.

So painful.

 

My mother sat me down at 15,

still smiling so

brilliantly.

Warned me about men with

easy smiles and

silver tongues.

She told me of the

devil laying dormant under the skin

of men.

Her eyes spoke volumes of

torment even as the smile grew

wider,

wider,

wider.

 

I vowed then to not end up like her

and after all,

 

Prevention is b e t t e r than the cure.

                  - on why I stole the lives of boys