She never knew one of us from another, so my brothers and I grew up fighting 
Over our mother’s mind
Like sun-colored suitors in a Greek myth. We were willing
To do evil. We kept chocolate around our mouths. The last of her mother’s lot, 
She cried at funerals, cried when she whipped me. She whipped me
Daily. I am most interested in people who declare gratitude
For their childhood beatings. None of them took what my mother gave,
Waking us for school with sharp slaps to our bare thighs.
That side of the family is darker. I should be grateful. So I will be—