Survivor Poetry: ‘Love’

The things he says
as etching in my skin the fingers circling
my arms around the wrist
they sink somehow, without me hearing
anything else. I have forgotten
this girl, lying on this bed, was at one point
me. I have forgotten that I know
her at all, that there is a world
outside this room, that speaking
is to be heard. And I bleed. Silently. Into
the sheets. but I know this only after
seeing the dark spots left on the bright
cloth in the morning when I am alone and I fold
them under and over themselves ripping
the corners free until they wrap
into a ball I run through three cycles before
my mom can find the evidence. None of this
ever happened.
Love, he says, is a compromise. It is a force
he cannot fight any longer. Love is my
fault. It is the reason. His excuse
to climb across. Love is what he does
to me. Is what he’s doing to me. Is what he says
this is. But love, love is nowhere
in this room.


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