My daddy used to say
the first time somebody hits
you should be the last time.
Mama never spoke
on the subject, but I knew.
If I ever got kicked out
of my zero-tolerance school
she’d reach into the front pocket
of my bookbag, pull out a sharp
pencil, and carve out my intestines
right there in the kitchen;
the red clashing with the yellow
linoleum floor as I struggled
to hold in the rest of my organs
with slick hands.
She’d take those intestines, wash them,
roll them in egg, flour and spices,
drop them into the sizzling oil
until they turned golden brown,
and drain them on a paper towel.
Then she’d serve them to my daddy.
Crystal Zanders is a poet, teacher, and pug-owner who lives in New Mexico.