It was important to suffer quietly
my parents believed. My mother
and a dozen kids, uncomplaining.
My father waiting in the basement.

You didn’t have it as bad
my older brothers said and
I didn’t doubt them. I watched
them mount the stairs, submit.

Years after my father’s death
a few brothers joke about it.
They won’t say the purple welts
stung for days when sitting.

I’ve joked about everything
but never it. I was whipped,
and tears watered defiance
which almost devoured me.

And though I hated him and
later them for making a farce
of it, it never did break me
and I remain unbroken.

 

 

Poet’s Notes:

* Literalists call it a riding crop, but it was still a whip (and we called it a whip) used on horses.
Written a while back, taken from the “unpublished archives.”
I’ll be back writing fresh material soon.

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