Things Impossible to Swallow • poems by Pamela Garvey • number 24 in the 2River Chapbook Series2River


Snatching stacks of bills from her hands, the man stumbled, elbowed
the boy. The eyelid bruised. The boy ran, locked himself inside

the bathroom, drank Benadryl while they pretended silence.
So the boy screamed through the door I wish a semi sliced me

in half, then you’d feel sorry. With a pipe wrench, the boy cracked
the window; his face in glass sparkled with cuts radiating

from the nose. A line to the ear smacked of the scar on the father’s face
but now under the mother’s deep set eyes. Even in glass, shadows

rim those eyes. If only he could punch through this reflection,
kick back shards and climb out without stabs or splinters. One, a voice

hollered, two . . . that yanking again: cords ripped from walls. Then the
slammed door. He prayed for the father to come back while the mother hugged
the dog like a favorite. Finally, the boy came out,
marched over, kicked them both: her in the ribs, dog in the head.