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The pain would come later.
The blue and black bruises
the shape of man-sized fingers
would not form for another
few hours, and the heart
would not be aware
of the long coffin nails
until days after.

All of the moment is fear
a fast approaching end
that tastes like burning ash
and the red tint of sky
behind the death black
of a stormy night,
the panic while I teeter
on the brink of choking
and the realization
that he is too strong
and I can’t push him off
and he is about to drain
the ocean out of my soul
without my permission,
my pounding heartbeat
incinerating the helpless
silence of the walls

my brain tries to shut down
as disgrace fell
the size of a hungry boar
and smoldering anthills
of self-doubt tear
my flesh apart
over and over and over
while I watch the crack of light
under the door not knowing
whether I am praying for
someone to walk in and see
my splayed nakedness, or
for the absolute non-appearance
of deliverance

and oh, I am tired
and bleeding and
worried about the stains
how many minutes has it been
and when will it end?

and is the floor falling
into the ceiling, and can
anyone hear the clock ticking?
every second is a “No”
The mute terror sprouts
lesions of guilt and shame
that spread out
through the body like
fire devouring a house
while I am trapped inside,
hoping desperately that something
will be left to save
if I can’t move
under his brutish weight
until the whole damned place
is razed.
(Summer 2005)

“Burning Witch”
by photographer Anton Belovodchenko


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