Dad's Belt - Jesse Back

Dad's Belt - Jesse Back

Dad’s belt

was leather

and hard from work.

He never took it off

without warning

‘If you do that again,

you get ten.’

I was small and dad was big,

his face windburnt

his hands calloused

his arms, rebar.

It always took me

two times.

‘This is going to hurt you

more than it hurts me.’

Which I never believed.

On the edge of the bed

pants around my ankles,

ten lashes.

Spare the rod

spoil the child.

It was always unspoken

that the belt was acceptable.

If mom allowed it

then it must be

what everyone does.


I put on a belt in the morning

take it off at night

and hang it up.

Still hearing

the welt of it

against bare skin.


‘I’ll give you something

to cry about.’



blank photo 2.png

About the Author

JESSE BACK is from a small farm in southeastern Ohio. He works on the road and spends long nights sitting on a hotel bed waiting on delivery.

Back has been published in Mudfish, The Drunken Odyssey, Cactus Heart, Offcourse, Twisted Vine, Marco Polo Arts Mag, among others.