I was young when I learned to sing to the rhythm of fists flying through the air like birds too angry with the season to call. I was young when I thought a tune could drown the sounds of my mother’s sobs crashing through hallways in tidal waves and monsoon misery. I was young when I carved songs in the wallpaper and into my delicate skin. I turned bruises into syncopated beats and scars into major scales. My stepfather hated music but I was an ornery child, and I sang of joyous things just to see if his soul could dance, but instead, I got two left feet in swift kicks. When I was was young I was afraid of sticks because I thought my body was a drum to be beaten and battered to a punishing rhythm. I was young when I learned that the taste of blood on my lip was merely the flicker before the intermission; the finale would be a grand display of pomp, punch, and unlucky circumstance. My mother was a tone-deaf drunk who never learned to sing. She belted begging in B flat octaves like it was the only note she knew. She wept an ocean of sorrow as I sang my S.O.S. “God, save our sinking ship.” “God, save our sinking souls.” “God, save our sorry stepfather from himself.” And when I thought to cry, I sang my little heart out instead. I sang of devil's meeting end, and I sang of daughter's finding love, and I sang of mother's finding strength enough to leave, and I sang to the happy families that only existed in sitcoms, because my stepfather hated music but I hated him far more.