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Farrell Winter

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The Knife
by Farrell Winter
Thursday, September 04, 2008
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The Knife is a memoir in poem form. It is the story of one morning hour in my life as a child, when I was physically abused daily.

The Knife


© 2005 Farrell Winter



A dull pain in my stomach.

Not digestive juice churning

This time.

A spot of blood

The knife clutched in my hand

Taken from the silverware drawer

Last night

After everyone had gone to bed

The yelling stopped

The heavy air beginning to settle

A little.

"I'll hold this knife all night"

I said

Silently of course

So he wouldn't hear.

"To protect myself

In case he comes in

To hit me.

“I'll cut his arms off

If he raises his fist at me."

Cut cut cut.

"I'll stab him in the chest

But it won't hurt him

Because he has no heart."

Stab stab stab.

How could he have a heart

And beat his own son


Every day

These past 10 years

From the day returned from the war

Against America's enemies.

Now I'm America's enemy

And he's still at war.

That evil smile on his face

As he took off his belt

Doubled it up

And pulled me across his lap

His words

Repeated incessantly

Like a madman.

"I told you not to do that.

I told you.  I told you.  I told you."

I never knew what.

"This hurts me more than it hurts you."

Then why do it, I thought

Finally deciding

He liked being hurt.

"I'll hit you so hard

You'll feel it next week."

Why are you hitting that little boy,

I thought

Watching from over my shoulder.

My mother intervened

On occasion.

"You hit him enough today," she'd say

"Hit him again tomorrow."

Or simply, "Stop hitting him."

"I'm not hitting him.

You don't see any blood, do you?"

My pain and fear

Eclipsed by terror.

But he never made me bleed.

Now I make myself bleed

With this knife.


* * * *

Two years later

When my mother said

"Stop hitting him."

And he responded

"I'm not hitting him."

She said

"You hit him before he was born."

I had this vision:

A young couple

Newly married.

He comes home

From a day of looking for work.

"Oh, Phil"

She gurgles happily

"I'm pregnant."

He looks at her

Begins punching her stomach


"You love the baby more than me."

Over and over

Like a madman.


* * * *


This morning

He throws open my door

And looks at me

With the evil smile

Searching for an excuse.

I hold up the knife

And shout, "Keep away"

In my mind.

In reality

I keep the knife hidden

Lest he see it

And give me the beating of my life


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