on admitting you are an abuse survivor
It will not happen the first time you forgive him.
Or the second. Or the third. It will not happen the fourth time
you break down in public. When a wine glass is broken
at a dinner party and you leave without saying goodbye.
When a car door is slammed across the empty parking lot
and you have the undeniable urge to call him. Tell him you miss him.
It will not happen when you write this poem. When you finally
claim what happened to you as if it was a child
you abandoned when you were too young to know better.
Say it: abuse survivor. Abuse survivor. You will never
want to say it. Why give your love such a dirty name?
It will happen when you try, so foolishly, to love another.
To crawl naked into their lap like a blind child:
this doe-eyed heart you found in the garden.
Each night, you will try so hard to touch their face.
Your fingers will shake. You will be crying and you will not
know why and it’s not their fault. It’s not their fault.
It’s not their fault they are an un-swung axe.
- Sierra DeMulder
There is an ache I wish you never to feel.
It is the ache of watching you beam into her the way I thought you only smiled at me.
It is the ache of your worst nightmare coming true - two bodies, neither of which are yours, tangled under sheets.
It is the ache that comes with the knowledge that you will never know that I recognized that look of pain in your eyes.
It is the ache I get when your hands are wrapped around me.
It is the ache I get when they are not.
I am filling up that gap you left with anything that will fit.
I pour in the kisses of strangers and cheap wine and acoustic covers of your favorite songs and spoken word poetry and the silence, silence, silence between us.
I am always a half-step from running to you,
and I’ve always been a half-step behind.