Slap. Crack. Gasp.


I still remember that day.

My dad dislocated my mother's jaw

and I heard a slap and a crack and a gasp

and my mother hit the ground

and he was only proving his point.

He was only ending the argument. 


I've never hit my dad.

but I punched his chest as hard as 12-year-old fists can

and he didn't hit me back

and he's never touched me.

It was mom's job to hit the girls.

Dad hit Mom hit me.


Mom divorced Dad.

and he stopped hitting people and Mom started hitting harder and more often

and she was only releasing pent-up emotions.

She was only stress-relieving.


I told her I was gay when I was 18.

and she hit me the hardest

and bruises and tears lasted for weeks on my body

and I moved out against my will.

She stopped talking to me.


She offered an unspoken ultimatum:

don't ask don't tell don't live the life you want.

and I took the offer.


I was only afraid

and Mom was only afraid

and Dad was only afraid.

This poem is about: 
My family


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