The Calm Before

the steam from the shower
was spilling from behind the coral reef
a veil
between the shower
and the cupboard of a washroom
he wiped away the steam
as his towel clung to his
protruding hip bones

he grabbed the cloth
on the windowsill
to wipe away the moisture droplets
embroidering the glass

he grabbed the moisturizer
he grabbed the foundation
and he began to apply scoops and heaps

first the bruise from last week whose fading pink gave him
hope that the scarlet purple adjacent to his left elbow
would soon heal
he tried his best to make the dark and blotchy wound on his
right inner rib match his own skin
but after all the creams made it darker, he clutched the
sink and gave up
letting the shampoo drip from his ears

he heard the knock that made each bruise
two low resounding thumps
all it took was two before he answered
on the other side was his father

he shriveled to move past him
allowing him in
as he turned back
all he could see was the half lit cigarette and mug he knew
to be filled with coffee dangling between his father’s
mouth and ring finger

he missed his step mother
because at least she could quell his father’s rage
but he learned to remain silent
he remembered to breathe once back behind the closed door
of his room

– he heard the two low resounding thumps
he knew a storm was coming again


Twenties Educator Brooklyn Born & Raised

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