Friday, February 18, 2011

In the Headlights

This is where it began, at my daddy's feet. The boy. The soft flesh of his face and back is still unmarked by the belt and by the patient years that would soften the scars and rub his skin thin and blue as tissue. The young boy's heart is fresh and green, but already it is exhausted, beating its way relentlessly forward, relentlessly forward. He knows to fear what he cannot see, and he cannot see anything at all. He is falling backwards and reaching, flailing, terrified for what is already gone. He has love affairs with chickens and dogs and backyard bushes, but humans are elusive. In gym class, they pin him to the wall behind the bleachers and take great pleasure in their cruelty. He stops short when he sees the words Harmful or deadly if swallowed. By twelve, he is eighty.