A Strict Definition by Nathaniel Sverlow


A Strict Definition


abuse

has a very strict definition


like table

or coffee

or book


abuse

has a very strict usage

that shouldn’t be

thrown around

especially not to sell books


abuse

involves a very strict scenario

of consistent, excessive force

often leaving welts, bruises,

broken bones,

and sometimes worse


no, you shouldn’t

misuse

“abuse”

especially not to sell books


it’s unethical

it’s exploitative

it’s unimaginable


you’d do something like that

to family


when we fed you

when we bought you toys,

movies, video games

when we held you

feverish and trembling

when we drank with you

when we sang with you

when we paid your credit debt

when I went to your wedding

when I watched your child being born


was that abuse?


no it wasn’t


you’re just exaggerating

sensationalizing

a smattering

of events

to sell books


to sell your awful book


no

abuse

has a very strict definition


he hardly ever beat us

he hardly ever screamed at us

he hardly ever left a mark


how could you

mention such things

while we’re still living


you’ve hurt a lot of people,

you know?


you’ve made life

much more difficult

with all this


abuse



Nathaniel Sverlow is a freelance writer of poetry and prose. He currently resides in the Sacramento area with three cats, one incredibly supportive wife, and his young son. His previous publishing credits include Typehouse Literary MagazineBlack Fox Literary Magazine, The Fiction Pool, Squawk Back, and Bone Parade. He also recently published his first poetry compilation, The Blue Flame of My Beating Heart.