As a Child, Words Hurt Worse Than Being Hit




I could still walk into that house and smell leather,

the sweet odor cracked into peach wall paper

that closed in on my body

until I vomited fields of soy beans.

Outside of the rows,

I’d pick wild berries.

An almanac cautioned

about Indian strawberries–

I feared that as the juice dripped

down my hollow mouth,

I’d surely die.

God didn’t want kids like


Years passed.

I sat on a train in New York

where I read a columnist

who declared that just because

consumption of a wild berry is

not recommended,

that does not indicate that the


contains poison.



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