The Bite ( after Sharon Olds )
When I was four years-old,
I bit my six month-old brother, hard;
my baby-teeth sinking into his delicate flesh,
soap residue coated my lips from his fresh bath.
As he screamed, I felt instant shame.
But it was too late, my mother retaliated
puncturing my good arm with her canines,
a consequence of my action.
Her sharp anger drew blood;
she became an old nurse
whose sensitivity disappeared with youth.
I was jealous of the affection afforded him
because it was foreign behaviour;
something I never experienced from her.
It contrasted belt and switch marks,
and exile to my bedroom.
All alone, listening to her coo
while he giggled, I realized being loved was something
I was abandoned to learn on my own.
I scanned my toys, those inanimate, cold-blooded
bodies, and realized I had so much love to give
regardless of their inability to reciprocate.
I hugged my doll, tightly, that soft rubber baby
with a damaged arm. I never stopped Loving
And one day, I allowed its return.