She Was Nine

Written by: Jack Jordan

She was nine,
her sister
older.
He was a big 
thirty-five 
mean drunk 
coming down 
from Saturday night,
slicked-back 
black hair, 
Hawaiian shirt, 
dark
wolverine 
eyes. 
He hit her arm
hard,
uttered an order 
under his breath.
She looked down
(small tears). 
What else 
could she do but
pull away, 
turn away 
sideways,
offer less of 
herself 
as a target if 
the first blow 
hadn’t dispelled his 
anger?
Her sister’d 
been there before. 
She knew 
what to do —
drop back a half-step, 
look down too
(don’t see),
shed quiet tears
for her sister.