Drunk, raging, my father

punched me and I fell,

lip busted, head spinning.

All ten years, all five foot

nothing, all one hundred

pounds of me rose again.

And he punched once more.

I stumbled a second time,

sliding against the wall,

smearing it with blood,

dizzy now, seeing three

windows where there’d only

ever been one, and he told me

no matter how many times

I got up, he’d keep hitting me,

so I had better stay down.

But, wobbling, I stood,

and he shook his head.

Let me have it a third time.

I don’t know how often

I rose to my feet, only

to end up flailing again,

white wall streaked

with lines of red

like an American flag

stripped of all its stars,

but ultimately he gave up

punching and kicked

until I coughed up bile

and could not stand.

This is how it was,

a sad, sad story.

If ever anyone deserved pity,

it was my poor father.