Being hit by a man isn't that bad.
It's really not the physical pain that hurts.
I think, though, it's the terror that makes it so terrible,
knowing that in a second, he could murder you
Or your mother
Or your three small babies.
Once, in the beginning, when he twidled his pocket knife and looked longingly at me
I think I knew how our family would end.
When he threw pots and pans and small bowls of Cream of Wheat.
It progressed so slowly, so, so slowly
Like a whisper moving across a room.
I could hear his anger, though,
when he held that pocketknife "playfully" against my back or
Two very different sounds.
Later, when he roughly grabbed my babies arms
Their little bones aching and bruised.
Later, when I was smacked
There on the ground, where my mother lay
Her hair tightly pushed against her head by his dirty fingers.
I remember listening downstairs to Scooby's paranoia
And praying if someday, I died by this man:
My sweet babies would never know, never see.
Terrified only for them and my mother's late night scream.
He's gone now.
But yes, the terror was worst.
Wondering every night if there would be three empty Mickey Mouse sheets
Or one bloody white bed when I awoke.
He's gone now, though.
My terror's gone, now, though.