My mother almost killed me before she knew me. But beloved I was, and sometimes am, so I remained. I suckled not milk but a jingling stream of nails from her breasts. For me sex was not compulsion but sacrament: lurid pink unfriendly bodies sharing one breath that carried a hit list all the way up to the angels. Father told me to save my breath because he knew what I was, and women—and what they could do—filled him with fear, that’s why he had to hit my mother all the time. You got balls under that dress? a man once screamed at my face after his voice didn’t make me tremble. And that one night, when I left the one who was, in hindsight, most probably the love of my life, my violet panties were still clenched between your sleeping jaws.