What Goes Around
by R.C. Carpenter

Too long
I've been afraid
Too much
I've been hurt
To me
You are nothing
No one
But a face I sometimes see
Locked in my nightmares

Your casual dismissal
Of everything I strive for
How you don't care where I am, what I'm doing, if I'm well
Only makes my resolve stronger
And reminds me of why
I hate you

Sometimes in my dreams
You're there and I'm a child
With my hands gripping the end of the bed
As I lean over the chest where
Your wife keeps family photos
And I can hear the familiar
Frightening
Snap
As you crack your belt
And tell me how bad I've been all day

I can feel the pain
That was so common in my childhood
As the leather weapon strikes me
Sharply
Across the exposed skin
I cry
You tell me to stop
Unless I want you to hurt me more
Than you had already planned

It feels like forever
That my punishment lasts in my mind
It lasts even today
As I remember my mother's eyes
Watching, never helping
As if finding some grand retribution
In her first born being whipped by a grown man

You slapped me so hard
When I was ten
I thought I was going to die
I wish I had
You slapped me and yelled
For not stopping the baby from throwing up
When you had gone out for the night
I hadn't noticed
Forgive me; she was supposed to be asleep
Don't you think I tried?
You didn't care
You took me out back behind the shed
And you'd rap your finger on the bone of my chest
Asking if I liked what I had done
Asking if I had cared that my sister was crying
And I tried to talk
To answer you in someway
But you kept yelling
You ass
I hope you know that it still hurts
Every time someone even brushes against that bone

Once
I tried to end my own pain
By telling people in power
Of the horrible awful things
You did to me nightly
And you made me recant
You made me look like a liar
When I was only
Eleven
The physical abuse stopped
But the emotional persisted
And worsened

I hate you
More than I've ever hated anyone
More than I've ever hated myself
Because of you
I punished myself when I did something wrong
And you didn't punish me
And you thought I was weird
But I was only doing what I thought was supposed to happen
I was only continuing
What you had trained into me

You trained me to fear you
And so I do
But I still hope you die
And I still hope some day
Someone hurts you more than you ever hurt me
I want to see you suffer
I want to see you bleed
I want to see your pride ripped from your body
And trampled before your very eyes
I want someone bigger than you
To punish you from the things you love
To threaten taking away a love they never really gave you
But that you believe exists
To beat you with their belt
To hit you with their hands
To crush you with their words

-end-

11/25/02