I never knew the amount of voices that
Surrounded her when she despaired at the kitchen
Table. I thought I had known her inside out.
As she held me against her chest.
I could never feel the sound of war drums.
She stared at the details of the house she lived in.
Trying to escape, make the first step, in her mind.
Her moments of timed joy landed on the kitchen counter,
And like dirt and dust they were wiped away, absorbed
By a dead material. As if nothing mattered.
I could never see things from her perspective.
The way she repeated every single day and hoped
That it would suddenly change. She ascribed no
Power whatsoever to herself. She had been stripped
Of everything that she was. And she did her best.
I had the impression that things were okay, even though
They weren’t. He made sure of that. She had been a woman
Who had already survived the most substantial of wounds
And yet, in his arms, against his lips, his demanding sex, the
Feigned intimacy of his breath, she became a girl again.
His touch made her crumble, the old pattern of men
That she knew too well, unwelcome, uninvited, domineering.
She had never been taught the language of asserting herself.
Every muscle and bone had been softened at someone else’s
Will, someone who profits from submissive bodies that got
Robbed of their sense of self and will.
Always framed by shut windows, the cold coffee reminiscent
Of a still life that never ends, the broken carousel of faded colours,
The fantasies she dove into to keep herself alive, in a different moment,
Never in the present, never reclaiming the power of that precise instant,
Looking at me, looking at him, her, him, her, thinking how am I going to do this?