Tonight There Were Sirens
My father says, She’s the batterer. I’m the victim.
Which body in this house does not have bruises?
I want to snap, but by now I’ve learned the rhythm
of their angers. How like the tide, abuses
ebb and flow. A smattering of peace will follow
his rant. I’ll go upstairs, blast my music to
mask ugly thoughts. A cousin will post bail tomorrow.
I’ll grit my teeth when Mom returns, try not to be sick
waiting for their confrontation, which
will be hushed. No need for more attention
from the neighbors and their gossip. Such
busybodies. This is a family situation,
my parents will (for now) agree. So they’ll sit
and trade veiled insults, remind me: Keep this private.
Allyson Whipple is a student in the online MFA program with the University of Texas at El Paso. She currently holds an M.A. in English and a black belt in Kung Fu. Allyson serves as co-editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar, and is the author of the chapbook We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are. She teaches at Austin Community College.