Folio - Salt Lake Community College Art and Litereature Magazine

To Scream

Sandra Archer

The people I thought I trusted
Told me – “When parents scream
They are only trying to protect them.”
Would they really use their voice as such a tool?
“When they push you,
It is to save you.”
An oncoming car
Or a flying projectile
Even if it breaks my glasses. They only have best intentions.
My front porch is wet when I arrive
Dinner has arrived at the table
But my father has not.
Mother is finishing covering the dishes
With soap.
Her eyes widen even if she doesn’t see me.
A weight holds heavy in my neck.
Vision is red because I hear tromping.
Down the stairs.
I don’t look up .
He looks down.
“Where ya been?” He huffs. He knows.
Scrubbing ends. A long silence begins.
“WHERE YA BEEN?” He raises his voice.
This is a scream.
This is protection.
But I can’t help recall
Past screams.
My glasses shattered, my nose bleeding.
The pillows on the couch scattered.
Even Mom won’t come.
Now I take a shuddery breath.
One that vibrates my whole being and reminds me of the truth I have still lodged in my rib cage.
He screams at me all night long.
Dinner never comes.
I notice bottles on the stairs as the floor hits my back.
This is a push.
It is the best intention.
If this is the truth, then I will accept it.
I will be protected, I will be safe.
Even if it doesn’t feel like it
At all.