Whose anger was it
driving me on him,
striping his red-plaid shirt,
my firing nails into his flesh
kicking and crying?
When I was twelve,
playing with cousins at Grandma Casey's house,
she made cold lemonade, and sugar cookies,
calling me to bring it.
When I leaned over setting the tray on the lawn,
this one, laughing, bowed my neck
with his heavy hand, holding me down.
My anger sprang full grown
to terrify the cat in all of us,
a fury of bloody biting and yanking hair.
Grandma pulled me off of him
and laid me in a darkened room.
She gentled me, washed my tears,
then holding my hand in hers, she talked
a long careful time, my Irish-born,
wise-hearted mother's mother.
The years have used her words.
They crown my daily intent.