Taking Turns

I will grow up and then your turn will come.
In the garden. Stillness.
On soft grass under trees,
jacket for pillow, hand under head,
Sons and Lovers,
Late afternoon birdsong.
Door bangs. Door slams.
Hurricanes out in heavy shoes,
my father, red-eyed,
hurls down steps. Hammering hands
draw leather, rain lashes.
No rain in lashes.
Lightning and thunder and stinging and strapping and cutting and bleeding.
No soft rain in lashes.
Nose in grass, hands over head.
‘You saw her go. You did not stop her.’
Brown beer breath. Brown leather lashes.
Heavy shoes, stomps steps.
Door slam. Door bang.
Hurricanes in.
Now only me, face in grass,
Wet smell. Green smell. Red eyes.
No more listening to her yelling and shouting and swearing and crying her pain.
But soon –
Soon I’ll be grown up. 
My fist drawing brown leather.
Soon I’ll be your size
And then your turn will come.

by Joy Manné


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