The night she tried to beat me, I slept on the veranda
of the shop in the square. At dawn, a man hauled
me home. She dragged me to school, whipped me
with the principal’s cane.
Teachers clapped like congregants.
The day Miss Morgan burst my forehead
with the wooden duster,
I drew mother’s signature in the blood.
Some nights, she woke me with a belt
across my back, struck prayer from my throat,
told me others were merciless too.
Others, like my father, whose face I wore. Others,
like grandma, whose bosom was not a safehold.
My entire childhood was a study in revenge.
I tied my pigs in the sun—watched them burn.