My Father’s Father
The day you almost killed your son, your wife hauled you off his small body. He lay at the bottom of the stairs, the shape of your knuckle stamped into his temple. You ingrained in him the reflex to tug off his belt that day I broke the plate, to raise one hand— brown leather, buckle clinking, my breath squashed in the fist of my ribs. He let it fall into a coil on the floor, knelt and held me— one of the things he learned on his own.