My Daddy slapped my hand against my cheek.
“Don’t hit yourself. Why are you hitting yourself?”
He held my wrists, and laughed. I cried. My hands,
completely out of my control, slapped me.
And then I did it to my brother, whom God,
in his great wisdom, delivered unto me
each time our parents left the house. With glee,
I’d smack his pink face till he begged,
and then a little longer.

                                   Fifteen or so,
I wondered how I’d take a punch if some
drunk in a bar demeaned me or my woman.
I’d stand before the mirror and punch my face.
“Not good enough,” I said. “You flinched.”
I got up off the floor and tried again.