My father's hands grip tightly at young shoulders, and
I can't help but shudder under his grip.
His long teeth stretch in front
of my eyes, spittle
His voice cracks under
the weight of his bellowing
tongue. Wicked smiles bring tears to
my flooding eyes. "Okay, Daddy. Whatever you say."
Graceless footfalls stagger up carpeted stairs, the
dull thudding a reminder that she
controls my heartbeat.
choke on the
thorns inside my lungs.
There's nothing else I can say.
"I know, Momma. It's okay. I'm used to it. I promise."