Come in here boy

Sit down
Let’s talk like men
When there’s something on your mind
let me know
We’ll discuss it

What we discuss is between you and me
You’re not a man if you can’t keep
a secret
You got that? Good
Let’s shake on it.
*
Boy
Come in here
Stand right there
Now tell me what you said last week
about your sister

No girl
You stay here
I want you to hear this

……………………

Go ahead boy
What did you say?
What’s the matter?
Cat got your tongue?
You don’t remember?
Let me refresh your memory

You told me you hated her!
You remember now?
Don’t stand there like a dummy.
Say something!

OH
SO THEN I’M THE LIAR

Go down and get me a switch
It better be the right size
Don’t give me those crocodile tears
If you want sympathy get it out of the dictionary
No. It’s too late for sorry.

this used to be a thread spool but i converted it
to a force field activator. i clench it in my fist
and activate it with my eyes closed tight.

a slippery surface surrounds me so pain slides off
and nothing gets in. sounds bounce off my teeth
before they leave my mouth.

he pushes my head into the mattress and whips me
with the switch i dragged up from downstairs.
i play dead. he sees i’m faking and whips harder.

his arm gives out so he unties me from the cots
four corners. i pull my clothes on over the welts.
he stands there.
*
Look at me when I talk to you
i look up.
he has red eyes and quivering nostrils.
i laugh.

i don’t see his hand knock my jaw sideways.
the activator rolls under the bed. i slide down
against the wall. he bends over me and whispers.

Do you know why you got this beating?
No. Not because you lied
You got it so you’ll know who wears the pants
in this family
Don’t you ever forget how you got here
I got the gun that gave you life and I got
the one that can take it away.

Fred Nicholson