Friday, April 10, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Cupping my hands
Over my ears, wishing
the screaming would stop
I cling to the wall
hoping to find protection
from unkind words, threats
and accusations

Covers over my head, I fold
into a fetal position
I burrow my 5 year old body closer
to the scratched and worn
bunk bed post, finding safety in the
dark corner next to the wall

Praying the further away I get
from the outburst, the more invisible I will be
It does no good
Her words hit me like her belt strap whipped
across my body
Fear within and without

“….ungrateful kids…..I work so hard….
I don’t ask much……fend for yourselves…
maybe I’ll never come home….I don’t ask much”

Hardly a lullaby to whisk me off to sleep
Only sobs and tremors

Her shrieking ends with the slam of the door
The old Black ’48 Chevy grinds it engine
as she drives off into the night


Then a whisper from the upper bunk
“Ssh,.” my 11 year old brother says
“It’ll be alright. Ma’s just mad ‘cause
We woke her up with our laughing.”

He slides his hand down the wall.
“Here, hold my hand ‘til you fall asleep”
I grab onto it, feeling the small warts
on his rough hands.