My Father’s Breed
It’s four in the morning.
I’m ten years old.
I’m beating my mother between the mirror and the shoe rack.
The front door is ajar. A bridge
presses its finger to the frozen strip of water.
Snow falls over it gritting like sand on glass.
Both of us in our long nightgowns.
I stare into her earring hole and aim
at her large breasts not to hurt my knuckles.
I slap her face like I flip through channels.
My father lies at the door. From his shirt
lipstick smiles at me with the warmth of urine.
It’s as if somebody threw at him slices
of skinned grapefruit.
Every time she hits him—I hit her.
Look at this. Look whom you’ve bred.
How can he see from under his pink vomit.
But his body smiles—
cannot stop smiling.
From Collected Body. Copyright © 2011 by Valzhyna Mort. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.