Civil War in My House

Papi chased Mamá around the yard with a knife, the neighbor had to hold him back.  He was trying to kill Mamá.

Bernardo, my eldest brother, tried to tie him up to the bed.  Papi never stopped cursing.  He was throwing things.  Bernardo got one hand tied to the bed, and Papi bit his finger down to the bone—so hard it nearly came off.  Bernardo screamed.  I saw blood on my father’s face, gushing from his mouth. 

I was a little girl, four years old.  I thought, This is not the right thing my brother did—not respectful.  But it’s the only way to handle Papi.  

What can you do? 

I cried.  I looked for Mamá.  Mamá was in the middle of it all, bleeding.  I grabbed her legs.  Bernardo showed me his finger—more blood.  “Cry for this!  See what he did to me!” 

Bernardo moved out of our champa with his pregnant woman and his child, Bernardo Antonio, who was eighteen months old.  The baby died.

Who was right?  I always felt guilty. 


Slaughter has overshadowed my life, as bloody civil war and then gang violence raged all around me, in my dolorous little country, El Salvador. 

What can you do?

I found small ways to survive, to keep body and soul intact.  Ever since I was little I have asked God:  If You exist, why do You allow people to hurt other people?

© Copyright 2018 by Rita E. Moran.  All rights reserved.

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