The word they use is one harsh syllable first,
one relent second. My writing teacher says —
where is the camera? Where is the camera and
where is the speaker? Well, I think the camera is
hovering over my body. I see myself cast in glass,
blinking away the glare. I part my lips, my eyes
still wide. Light glistens in my curls, settling in each
like a hammock. Come on, take a vacation on me.
The shag carpet scrapes my back. Cut to tile,
his body a shadow graying mine. The birds
dart south for the winter. Or an unseeable
chain is tugging them there. Rope. I can’t
make myself say VICTIM. You punched a hole
in the wall and I would’ve built a dollhouse
in there, leveled out the plaster for the floor.
Stuffed a battery-powered light in there. Taped it,
so the void shines from the inside out. I know
I cannot lead the gold leash of my tongue.
Men always crouch above me, but they don’t
breathe. My breathing lands fists to their lungs,
rubs their arteries between my fingertips, tugs
the tissue paper away. Darling and angel. I heave.
My sweet baby girl. At the light, I look up. It’s not
about the force or pain: it’s about the fact that you
did it. It’s more about the fact that you wanted to.