i grew up thinking
that the body of a woman is a house.
an abandoned house around the corner,
a repository for beautiful broken things.
walk too briskly and you’d miss it.
it must have been that first night
mother neatly folded
sobs between her wrappers
and carefully placed them, locked, in a box
deep breaths and a despondent smile as
she walked out and dared a lion to bare his teeth.
she must have forgotten that she was a pacifist.
it must have been the crunching sound
of breaking bones dancing to a tune,
a marriage of fists and naked flesh or
the steel in her voice urging me to go
as she whispered,
back to bed Jethro, your father and I are just dancing