by Liz Dolan

My younger sister and I stroll
with my father
to jimmy crane's house,
his fellow car knocker,
where he serves us
ginger snaps and ginger ale
laced with milk. We giggle,
gag and hold our noses to drink
this chalky magnesia
because we don't dare leave it.

Later, too eager to cross the minefield
of Bruckner Boulevard,
I step into the oncoming traffic.
Grabbing my arm
with his left hand, he jerks me
back onto the sidewalk
like Raggedy Ann in flight.
As I land, his right hand
plants a thunderbolt
on my left cheek.
How was I to know the terror
I struck in his heart
already sundered
by a truck crushing
my brother Butchie's head
when he was five--
Five decades later
Butchie's memory dims but the slap still stings.

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