VE (9-20-1961 / Cape Girardeau)


You kept us in check, alright. Hugged us
With a thuggery unrivalled on our street.
A bellow from the doorstep; you framing the fortress,
Knuckling at dusters; rubbing spit upon faces;
Tormenting the dishes. You were clatter,
The business, and if one of us resisted,
Your words had the power to
Lift the spines from our backs.

One afternoon, while you slept, I moved closer,
Ran my fingers along the red scar in your side;
The one that I'd made. Deep as the Earth's crust,
Still nowhere near deep enough to be the end of you.

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