Some nights Daddy leaves to go hollering. He doesn't call it that, but I know what he does. I've seen it in the newspapers, even though Daddy balls them up and burns them when he's done reading them. He goes out carrying white robes and a scary mask that covers his whole head. He looks like a ghost. He brings sticks and knives and rope- sharp and dangerous things I'm not supposed to touch. When I ask him what he's doing, he always says, "the right thing." I've heard him use words that sound angry to my ears, words that I learned are talking about people with darker skin than mine. I don't think that those people are bad, but Daddy thinks so, and he says I should stay far, far away from them.
One time I talked to an old lady with the dark skin. She was nice, and she gave me an apple. I ate it the whole way home, juice running down my chin all sticky-like. But Daddy knew what I did, and he bent me over his knee and gave me the belt. I cried all day to show him that he had been mean. I don't want to listen to what he tells me, because this little feeling in my belly tells me that he is wrong.
When Daddy goes hollering, I hear him from a mile away. I can smell the fire and I hear noises of people being hurt. It makes me cover my ears. I can tell it's him doing the hollering- his voice is like a frog's from all of those cigars he likes to puff. I wish he'd stop. I wish he wouldn't read me the Bible every night, because I've read it before, and I know he's making up words. It's a shame Momma isn't here to tell him to stop. I miss my momma. I wish we all looked the same, so Daddy wouldn't need to go hollering in the woods all the time.