After my mother died
it was over between us, we
rarely spoke to one another in that
house owned by death, and

when we did speak it was
in the language of wolves,
a snarl and a curse, a brief flash
of fang in passing.

But one night just before I left for good
it all came to its inevitable clash.
Drunk as always he swung at me
as always, but things had changed

for me. I didn’t take it as always.
I blocked it with one arm easily,
grabbed him by the throat, bent him
over the dining-room table, drew back

ready to pay off on all the beatings,
the cruel mindless drunken rages, the
humiliations of my mother and sister,
all of it boiling in my fist but then

I saw him, old and cowering, mad
and far gone, lost in the forest like me, weak
and hopeless. I dropped it right there
and walked away, never looked back again.

You may long for it, dream of it,
pray for the day that it comes, but
it is never any good
when you beat your old man.