I will never have my bones licked clean again. I can
spot a predator from a jungle away. I am a lioness now. Thank you.
I know that Evil rarely looks homeless. I know it wears the sharpest
suit, spit-shines its own shoes, says thank you,
you’re welcome, and please when it meets your parents. Arrives
a foreign dinner guest, leaves a son-in-law. Mothers thank you
for the wine and the circus of laughter. But now I know how a man can turn
like a coin. How he can duct-tape your mouth and then thank you
for not disagreeing. But the fever of you
was so bad, I’d never kiss your brothers. Thank you.
I will never again let anyone make me small. I am bigger
than any lie you could decorate. I know who my friends are. Thank you
for throwing that severed foot into the middle of a crowd.
Naming it Crazy. Bruja. Most scattered like rodents, thanked you
for the warning. Pretended the foot was a ghost. But some carried the foot
until they found the leg it belonged to. Helped her stand. To them I say thank you
every chance I get. I thank them by never going back. By not forgiving.
Someday I will raise an army of daughters. Thank you,
they will not have your face. Your carnivorous heart.
Every night they will crawl into their father’s lap and say thank you
for loving our mother. For the lilacs in the kitchen, which are only
lilacs. Not reminders of your purpled fistprints. Not a thank you
for not calling the police. You taught me what love is
not—that’s how I learned what it is. Your absolute opposite. Thank you.