The kids at school pointed and whispered. Said he’d made orphans overseas. Watching people explode had turned him inside out.
Quiet as a wish, he carved up our kitchen table. Hacked it into figurines. Splintered bodies with round mouths. No eyes.
Afterward, we took nearly silent suppers squatting over linoleum, corners curling. The dolls were heaped in the corner not watching. I asked if he shot children over there. Ones who looked like me.
Hush that, mama said, spooning beans onto plates. I wondered if they brought to mind shrapnel. Pieces of people.
Once, while Mama bought time at Winn-Dixie, daddy slogged whiskey down his throat. Finally, unstrangled. I sat cross-legged, twitching to be filled with secrets.
His voice slick with memory: Monks ablaze. Flame-licked. Calm as nectarines.
He capped himself but not the bottle.
Still, my very own blooming postcard. Finally delivered. I turned it round and round in my mind until the edges softened.
Nights I curled by the fire. In yellow footy pajammies. Waiting to spark.