I used to think a lot
about killing him,
not serious, just fantasy,
to make him see
what it was like
to crawl backwards in sheer terror
as hands outstretched and mask in place
towards you walk with murderous intent.
Or when he held my throat and head
across the bathtub as the water gushed
and all that I could think was “this is it;
he’s finally done, or going to do,
the thing that I deserve, and am.”
I thought of killing him,
with chair and knife and implement extreme.
To switch our bodies, boy to man
and man to boy, to make him know the truth of hurt.
But now I dream of deeper ways than death.
Of little cruelties that kill
the heart if not the mind.
A careless and yet careful word,
a gaping lack of honest love,
or love at all but that which feels like pain.
I picture my father hanging himself
and think, now you know what it feels like,
and grin my child’s grin.