i was 17 the last i spoke with my father.

he came

home that tuesday night smelling toxic,

with the world giving away beneath his feet.

bloodshot pinball eyes, carrying

1000 unconfessed sins and

a half empty beer bottle,


mad at my mother (claiming whore),

mad at the world (countless lost jobs, wasted hours, and missed opportunities),

but mostly mad at me:

a stupid scrawny kid with toothpick arms, a bad haircut, and crooked teeth

who since the age of 4

had been repeatedly beaten with belt

and bent coat hanger,

and left bruised and crying on the unwashed

ceramic bathroom floor.


three minutes before midnight

he burst through the door.

Mother begged and screamed for him to go,

begged and screamed to let Her go,

before meeting his fist

and then



glass shattered,

the chairs and table thrown about



i stood in the hall and watched.


poor Mother called out for my help.

She wanted me to stand up to my father,

and of course, i did.


because She was right.

but i knew that She had

urged my father to do

everything he did

to me.


took advantage of his confusion and anger

and directed it towards me.

quietly reserved,

sitting in a stool

in a corner of a dimly lit room.

drinking until his liver had corroded

and watching the paint

peel off the cracked white walls,

urge and will shedding from his skin.

Her in Her Unfaltered Brilliance

pointed the finger

to me.


She had never been okay,

not emotionally.

Her medication stored in the back of a dust covered cabinet

and Her medical records stored away beneath the bed.

at some point the doctors just stopped calling.


She had dominated me

like a dog,

and like a dog

tearing at my leash

i fought.


afterwards, i remember limping through the streets

with my face completely swollen,

unable to open my right


lip ruptured, my tongue

drowned in the bitter taste of iron.


the angels weeped


the manhole covers

of the street.


i remember that this was the night of the big tropical storm

off in a state or country too far away to recollect

where it rained

for almost an entire week

and the streets were flooded

and the cars overturned

and the houses destroyed

and the kids drowned alongside their grandparents

and the church collapsed

on 176 people

and no one made it out

and the flood waters ran downhill

and drowned the farmers and the horses and the sheep

and the cats hid in trees and ate the baby birds

and the homeless didn't get away

and they were never able to completely rebuild.


and i never returned home.

the el and Her.

i don't know what they fight

about now

or how loud they scream

or if he finally did

leave as he

had confided in me;

wilting moments

when we drove down gray dead


in his busted up white truck

after a hard day's work.


god did not forsake the people that week.

Mother Nature had him by his balls and She did what She pleased.



i forgive him.


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