Issue #135 Beatings


Simone White

Issue #135
April 2023

when our mother was beating him
my brother would cry out
in his baby voice
don’t hurt my body
which occasioned
the beating to stop
because it was funny
yes our mother beat us
children are
for beating
the righteous comedy of my mother’s beatings
whipping and hollering
other children and our father looking on
my sweet father
trusted with cold beatings most of the time
trusted with keeping
the word of the house
my mother’s hysterical beatings
my father’s ability to distinguish the beating
from violence
my mother incapable of violence
the stinging beatings
my mother’s syncopic incapacity
to convey the fullness of a threat
beatings as arrangements between my mother’s feelings
the bodies of her child the word
the weapon that comes to hand
when we were not little my mother
didn’t beat us any more
my mother does not mother those who are not little
any more
my father did not beat my sister
his beatings of my brother and I became beatings
me and my brother running hands
me always running hands
me and my sister always fighting
not one more beating
my father not being a really deadly man
died leaving the beatings

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Simone White is a poet, scholar, and mother whose writing is both poetry and criticism. She is the author of House Envy of All The World, Of Being Dispersed, and Dear Angel of Death, as well as two chapbooks, Unrest and Dolly. She teaches poetry workshops and graduate and undergraduate courses in literature at the University of Pennsylvania.

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