A Hero's Carcass

“Have you ever been abused?”

My therapist asks me this not knowing that one word commanded my attention


I replay my favorite scene of Pretty Woman in my head

When they’re in the bathtub and Edward says, “It cost me $10,000 in therapy to
say that sentence. I was very angry with him.”

But I would not admit it
There are not bruises for proof
It is his words that cut instead
I am not a hetero-cis-white man like that character in the movie
So my brown queer body stays in denial
A man like my father is to be respected, even if Papi is a PTSD ridden war hero
He may tell me I am worthless and disgusting but I must stay quiet when he sneaks into
my room with a gun when he can’t sleep at night
I now hate that my room has the biggest window in the house
He is a night watcher and since I am so much like him, my mind begins to race too

So I write…
I write about how he yells at me so loudly that it feels as if he’s using my body as his own microphone
How my mother stays so silent during his episodes I sometimes forget we have an audience
How he and his army buddies drink too much and flinch at the baseball games every time the fireworks go off

Write because I’m scared shitless of my dad
Scared of the ghost my mother is becoming
Scared of what I’ll do to myself

“It took me 10,000 poems to finally write that one sentence. I was very angry with him.”
Angry that out of all these army commercials and sappy homecoming videos that I got stuck with this.

This poem is about: 
My family


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