Cruelty from Issue 94
That summer, the others on the job were men. Tight
with their wives. Hard on their sons. Sweet on
Hating the boys they dated—boys with their
hair swept back, boys who climbed the water tower
and wrote someone’s name.
Lunch. Something my mother made me. The dull lullaby
of the same dirty jokes put me to sleep, a book across
It was too much for Mr. Davis. “What the fuck do you think
you’re doing?” “Reading.” “Get your ass to work.”
“It’s not even one o’clock. Fuck you.”
I’d fought a little and all he did was slap me when I started
to get up, but it was the hardest I’d ever been hit.
I looked forward to calling his daughter that night.
I’d seen her in the library—a rosary in one hand, a slim
volume of verse in the other.