by Brenda Vicars Hummel

Awarded 1st Place by Austin Travis County Family Violence Task Force, 2014

Presented to Travis County Commissioners’ Court, September 30, 2014
 court poetry
With Greta Gardner, JD, Family Violence Director, Travis County Counseling & Education Services

To Print: See Travis County October, Victim Services Newsletter

He slams the door. He grips my arm. 
Fear thud, thuds in my heart. 
I force a smile and hold my breath 
And pray, “Please don’t let her see.” 

My thumb drifts down to the scar. 

Sweet, my two-year-old, ignores the slam, 
And stirs her make believe soup. 
She sets a bowl in front of her doll 
And croons, “Ima like a mama.” 

My thumb drifts down to the scar. 

The scar, three years old, rippled and puffed—
A perfect caterpillar, on my front hip bone. 
He didn’t mean it; he cried when he saw my blood. 
The whiskey in him shoved me too hard onto the stone. 

He tightens his grip. My arm grows numb. 
He kicks a toy across the floor. 
I pour his drink. He jerks away, 
But at least he leaves the room. 

My thumb drifts down to the scar. 

Sweet shifts her, clear blue-eyed gaze towards me 
And offers a taste of her soup. When I say, “Yum,” 
A dimple forms with her smile. She hugs her doll. 
“Ima like a mama.” Thank God she didn’t see. 

He returns—angry—some missing tool. 
I plead, “Not here in front of Sweet.” 
His greasy pliers snake up under my shirt 
And pull and twist a chunk of flesh. 

With a kiss, Sweet, puts her doll to bed. 
Hot pain sears me from the metal yank. 
He jerks away, grabs his keys, 
And slams the door again. 

I muffle my gasp and hide my face. 
Sweet leans against my leg, 
One thumb finds her mouth. 
The other drifts down to her side. 

Her side? I raise her skirt to check for a wound. 
She strokes an invisible scar. “Ima like a mama.” 
Too soon she knows. Too long I waited. 
My thumb drifts down to the—Stop. 

Now I make the call. 

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