and then there was the boy with bruises on his legs, and a head that just didn’t look right, and a mother holding him, standing in front of a dark home at three in the morning, cold wind blowing trash from the gutter, swirling around them when we arrive, lights flashing, lighting the outside of the house while the inside remains as black as the heart of the man inside

her son, wrapped in a dirty blanket that covered the smell of dirty diapers until I brought them inside my little world, the tiny moving enclosure where so much happens. I know that he is inside, drunk most likely, sleeping soundly in the bed that he finally has all to himself

where to begin, he was unconscious she says, after he fell from her bed, hit his head, didn’t cry, just layed there, hoping nobody would notice I imagine, and make his head even more odd, maybe this time hitting him hard enough to keep him quiet for good

The blanket comes off, and there are burns there, curling iron burns, and though they are old I can smell the tender flesh that sizzled when it touched him, and I wonder; did he cry then? Or did he stifle those cies so they wouldn’t burn him again?

She sits across from us as I take care of her baby, stone faced, her skin blotched, eyes swollen, hair colored too many times, sixteen years old, her year old baby lying on a stretcher, and not in a crib, he’s staring at a dripping IV line, and not one of those whimsical mobiles that would make music if he reached up and touched it, and make him laugh

If he had one.

He’s not responding, not to my words, not to my movements, not to my touch. He’s not laughing, or crying, or doing much of anything but existing the only way he knows how. Little babies learn a lot in their first year of life. Little Jeffery has learned how not to cry. Or laugh. Or do much of anything, but breathe


  • Andrew says:

    Parents like that make it hard to maintain a professional demeanor, when what is really needed is for someone to beat the crap out of them. I used to deal with one family like that. DHHS was useless (almost as bad as in NYC, where they don't show up until AFTER the child is murdered), the rest of the social services system was just as bad.

    Too bad we can't just give these animals a blanket party and warn them we'll be back with an even worse ass-kicking the next time little Bobbie has so much as a skinned knee.

    Leave the bastard bleeding, broken, and in excrutiating pain, and maybe… just maybe… he'll learn his lesson. And if not, well, too bad, so sad… "Jerkwaaaaad, I'm ho-ooooome…"

    Oh, yeah, and cut his nuts off with a rusty pair of tin snips.

  • Michael Morse says:

    it is frustrating, especially when all we can do is call the police and DCYF, (Department of health and human services) Thanks for commenting Andrew.

  • Sally says:

    That is one of the saddest stories I have ever read.

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