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Shotgun Wedding

by | Aug 15, 2022 | ACA And The Arts, ComLine

I study an old photograph 
from sixty-five years ago.
My parents are cutting 
their wedding cake.

I see Mom, 
three months pregnant, 
scared and uncertain, 
younger than her appearance.

I see daddy-Monster, 
arrogant and dominant, 
younger than his appearance, 
with a predatory gaze.

They didn’t know:
daddy-Monster’s daddy-Monster 
would soon be dead – 
heart attack.

They didn’t know:
three generations 
of family violence 
would soon become four.

Three boys within five years,
the oldest excessively compliant,
the second reckless and rebellious,
the third lost and wandering aimlessly.

They didn’t know:
daddy-Monster would explode 
and throw his first child 
down a flight of stairs.

Too many beatings to count.
Mom’s ribs would be broken.
Daddy-Monster would spend a night in jail.
Alcohol would consume him.

He would beat all his children, 
even in utero.
He would beat his own mother.
He would rule the home with terror.

They didn’t know:
he would explode 
and kill a pet gerbil
which they had given to their children.

They didn’t know:
he would quit drinking, 
but still explode with rage.
Alcohol would then consume her.

They didn’t know: 
that one night, 
he would try to suffocate 
their oldest as he lay in bed.

They didn’t know:
their second child would turn 
to fighting and drinking and drugs 
and have many suspensions from school.

They didn’t know: 
there would be many 
emergency room visits 
and calls from the police.

They didn’t know: 
she would get drunk 
and attack him 
with a large kitchen knife.

She would be locked away 
for a few months.
They would discuss divorce, 
but stay together.

They didn’t know:
he would have heart disease 
before he was 40 
and be dead at 46.

They didn’t know:
their second child 
would save himself from prison 
by dying in a car wreck.

They didn’t know:
their youngest child 
would escape from his pain – 
through suicide.

They didn’t know: 
the baby within her 
would someday write 
about the violence.

Their oldest child
would then begin 
to share his writing 
with the world.

They didn’t know.
She still doesn’t know.
Daddy-Monster never knew.
I know. And I remember.

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