Anxiety 2

The earliest I can remember feeling it

was in that time between pulling my pants down,

and waiting for Mom to come in. I was probably

around 6.

I’d put my arms up on the bed and stare at the wall

as a way of trying to not make any gesture

she might find undesirable.

Don’t look at me while I do this, she used to say,

and I get it,

many people hit their kids,

or “spank” their kids if you want to be less

overstating, and that’s fine.

It was an institution for long time,

and it will probably stay one.

It’s weird though,

I don’t remember ever hearing her come

into the bedroom and stand behind me.

She was light on her feet.

What are we going to use today, she would say.

She’d hold up a couple of toys,

and I’d get to pick which one was pretty near

on the way out anyway.

Then she’d start to spank me with it until it broke.

Like I said, it was pretty much broken by that point.

By Chris Russell

Chris Russell’s poems have appeared in Mouse Tales Press, The Cafe Review, The Poet's Touchstone, Centripetal and Slope Magazine. He holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where, when not writing, drawing, or playing video games, he follows a calling as a Special Education Paraprofessional.