I have this memory from when I was younger,

I must have been six, maybe seven? An age

When you can remember, but not quite

Understand. I remember the landline

Ringing sometime in the middle

Of the night in my grandmother's small,

But adequate house. I had been sleeping,

Tucked under a shield of satin covers,

My grandmother next to me, blanketless,

And stiff, on the very edge of the queen mattress

Like she was anticipating some sort of disaster.

It wasn't the phone that pulled me from my sleep,

It was my grandmother's instant jerk, her eyes

Flipping open quicker than a light switch,

The mattress springing back up, adjusting

To the new lightness as she fled the room. My waking

Was soft like a song. Slow and humane.

My eyes adjusting to the dark, my ears absorbing the ringing,

My mind reminding itself that I was at my grandmother's house.


Then, the ringing stopped;

Abrupt, like a disarmed fire alarm.

It was just a drill, I thought.

But, then I heard the mumbling

From behind the door, panicked mumbling.

Rapid, like gunfire. My grandmother's Rs

Rolling down the hallway and under the door crack.

She only spoke Spanish when she was angry.


The call ended, my grandmother returned to the room,

Wrapped me in a blanket, and carried me into the night.

She buckled me into the backseat of her Toyota and said,

We were going to Auntie Mandy's house because someone

Needed to teach her rotten boyfriend a lesson about how to treat

A woman.


When we arrived at the house, we found the front door

Wide open, the house lights spilling out onto the porch.

A truck, I had seen once before, was parked a foot away

From the front door, aggressive. The truck had trampled

Over the dandelions and daisies, which lay wounded

In the front yard. A scene that begged for investigation.


My grandmother told me to stay put in my seat.

I watched as she walked to the back of the car, her normally pretty

Face turned straight, looked masculine. I watched as she pulled

Something wooden out of her trunk, then in her feline walk,

Approached the house. She turned to me, and I saw the

Baseball bat, immense in her female hands.


I slouched in my seat, the window above my head.

I never saw her go into the house.


I don't remember how long I sat,

Until the red and blue lights came.