I stuck my head between the opened doors
Of a cupboard
Found him there, in the broken emptiness,
The numbness of my face and fingers,
The immovable whisper without a voice.
He’d walk with me
Wherever we were unseen.
Where nothing could be heard.
Where the things between us could be hidden and exploited.
Where his finger landed on my lips
And disconnected everything within me.
The breath entering through a shut door.
I learned, not fast enough, that the possession
Of a key saves me. I hear my name in her rattling mouth
And I know that she knows, that she knew the secrets
Of his excessive and drunken body, better than anybody else.
The more I ran away from him, the more I
Sunk into her softly hardened body and
Came close to the pain inflicted on her, without
Words, the humming of her skin, a scream so silent,
A burial ground underneath the powder and warmth.
I loved her, in ways untaught by anyone, unseen, bewildered
And in such need it devastated me.
I press my cheek against your dead face and
Call you home, he roamed around freely across
My body, I pirouetted, a puppet, crushed porcelain
Heart. You always needed the faces to smile and look
Happy, because you knew the truth behind the forced grin,
When he touched you, when he touched me and her, when they
Took everything and it still wasn’t enough,
When they interchanged us all, back and forth,
Domino over domino, and we hate the way they make us smell.
“Portrait of Princess Louisa of Great Britain” by Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702–1789)