I remember that man.
My body remembers him.

I remember telling him
I loved him
with a kind of breathlessness
as if everything elseโ€”
reason, small talk, laughter
were being choked away
by powerful fingers
wrapped around my neck,
pressure of calloused thumb
on my windpipe.
I told him I loved him,
with as much sincerity
and pleading I could show
through the tears in my eyes,
and for a while,
he was satisfied.
And I was so relieved
to call him mine.

In time I’d say words
in place of ones I could not.
Code words of a heart
walking on eggshells.
“I’m afraid to lose you”
(I’m afraid of you)
“I can’t live without you”
(You are killing me)
“I need you”
(I’ve lost myself)
“Please believe me”
(Everything I know is a lie)
and I’d cry and cry and cry
because silence would not do
and there was so,
so much to prove

and I’d say I loved him
like the words had enough
volume in them to fold
and be bundled up and shoved
into gaps under doors
to keep inside
what warmth was left
and the shouting at bay

while poison gas
spread to the ceiling

until it just lost its meaning
like a body running out
of oxygen
while colors drained
and bruises started to appear
until I love you was just
a parrot’s exercise,
like the blunt sound
of my head repeatedly
banging against the bedpost
as he fucked me from behind
just to show me he heard me
which was fine,
all things considered,
at least I didn’t have
to see his face.

Yes, I remember him.
I also remember being dead.

untitled photo from image bookmarking site Pinterest


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