Generational Mortal Kombat
The floor of my father’s childhood home was caked in blood
and littered in bottles of things he was too young to know.
His father reeked of whiskey and my dad at 10 years old
watched as his mother’s eyes sunk away to nothing,
her skin sallow and garnished with scrapes and bruises of all colors,
my grandfather’s great fists sent her straight to silence, to dirt,
My mother shows my brother and me a video she saw on Facebook:
a guy and his girlfriend are beating each other, and
with each strike, a sound effect from Mortal Kombat plays.
They laugh, and I say, That’s not funny. I look at my mother.
My father inherited the fists of his father,
I watched from the staircase as they pummeled my mother to a pulp
in the garage one Christmas Eve when I was too young to move.
It plays over and over and over: My father, roaring
PEDAZO DE MIERDA, the crunch of her body hitting the wall,
her screams, the garage door shutting.
My mother says Oh shut up, Wanda, I say again,
Domestic abuse isn’t funny.
Half the time, I’m still on another staircase,
reliving cold eyes, a face contorting, boiling mad.
The hands of a once-lover, coiling around my neck
until my breaths come short, my vision goes fuzzy
Fingers tightening, throwing me down the stairs
limbs scraped red-hot my head screaming.
Get off your fucking high horse, Wanda, my brother says.
It’s not funny, and I should know, I say to him. And they laugh, and tell me,
Maybe hitting is the only way to shut you up.
By Isla Cueva
Isla Cueva is a writer from Arizona.