I want to say your cruelty redounds upon yourself,
but two problems. One is I suspect
this sense of "redound" is out of date;
and two, while true, it's really not the reason
not to be cruel, or not the one
you're built to understand. Try this:
the sunwashed wall one summer morning
longer ago than all you still remember
and the crumpled paper blown
at a canter
down the dry Modesto gutter.
There was a shadow of acacia
moving on the Spanish plaster, and you
thought, quite suddenly, that there might be a place
the complaints of your mother might not reach.
And after, when you had drawn
an opening curve with tiny beads
of shining red along the line, that place of peace
became a counterstory, the positron
hypothesized but never seen. (Still
never seen, known only by the trail
of bubbles curving to the left: but without
them how to make sense, make balance
of all that negative charge?)
And I would ask you now, forgetting
what redound may mean, to hold
in one small hand
the enormity of that defiance.
Tell your mother to go to hell,
(as she surely has: it wasn't far to go)
and follow that haunted curve
left, that unfamiliar, frightening curl,
the unwinding of all she drew so tight.
Pull the hair tie loose and shake your head
so that all that glossy hair swings as it will:
left, and right, and left.