It wasn't abuse, you said.
He was out of his head
crying and yelling and throwing
himself down kicking
tantrums over little things like
the tightness of a shoe
the color of a plastic cup he wanted
red we gave him blue.
The VHS player wouldn't play,
the certain condition of a day
it was raining or sunny or dry
you said you were just parenting him
getting him in line to mind
building character, you said.
It wasn't abuse, they said.
Just parenting. A child of unruly sorts
he doesn't look us in the eye he's
disrespectful. Doesn't tuck in his shirts
unkempt. Doesn't sit still during prayer
sinful and ungodly a preacher's kid
you know how they are well,
not my kid.
So he would be taught respect
and godliness through discipline
a scriptural concept he would
Honor His Father he would
want to, want to, obey.
and his mother would
Honor His Father by shutting up
and covering up the little
legs slashed and bloodied
welts and bruises and broken
kitchen utensils from the force of blows.
Picking them up throwing away
wooden spoons and brushes and paint sticks
and little hands reaching up to
be held or picked up from
the floor when daddy punched him
and sent him sprawling
crawling under the chairs
the little man fixed on Legos
and trains and happy in his world
away from the spoons
and the fists and the gossiping
crowds who said he was
"just being parented" with the rod of
correction and godliness
who said autism was no excuse
and who said it wasn't abuse
If you suspect childhood violence, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD.