Please by Len Kuntz

We are learning how to say Please
The master has a whip a belt a chair a chainsaw
It doesn’t matter. What’s important is obedience
Children in Africa have it worse we’re told
Who cares what they say at school
A shirt or blouse will hide those scars
We live in a root cellar of fear
The air hot and hairy going down
Coming up like a fist through a neck
Please can I have some water?
Please just a husk of bread?
Sis wants to put an end to this
Says there are no more rainbows
There never were any
Please can you tell us what we did wrong?
Please can I skip a beating today?
Sis rips her sleeves one evening
Makes two scarves, one for each of us
Ties them from the ceiling
Stands on the chair and tells me
Watch closely. This is how you do it.


Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State, an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans, and the author of I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND NEITHER ARE YOU out now from Unknown Press. You can also find him at



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