United States
33° 17' 27.276" N, 112° 2' 8.5704" W

you’re getting married saturday.
you’re marrying the man you deemed better
than my father, the man you figured was
more suitable for you than
three children, a loving husband,
a house with large windows
and wooden floors that echoed
with the clicks of a dog’s nails.

the floorboards erupted the morse-code of
your heels as i watched you leave me
for a final time
through a fogged window of my tears
that released the salted remains
of my self-respect and hope.

three years i had let you
snap my heartstrings one by one
tightening them, my pegs turned too far
to keep me up at night as i suppressed
my need for my mother; miserably curled
in hushed silence and a blanket of shame
because i was not enough of a reason
for you to stay

three years i had let your fingers
violently shuffle through my thoughts
my blind eyes, calloused fingertips
tracing your shadowed figure
that once kissed my forehead as i slept,
but now looms above, intently damning dreams,
casting a shadow that i barely creak my eyes
open to see the outlines of.

as you walk down the aisle, i hope you remember.
i hope you remember him bruising your left hip,
blue and purple welts rising from beneath your skin
the same way his erection had, blood pumping,
veins becoming visible and genitals becoming swollen
you allowing his fingers to seize and pluck lustfully
as he created you, split your mentality down its seams,
your personality undergoing mitosis to create a diseased
offspring that could never see the sunlight.

i hope you remember walking out of the same front door
that you emerged from on your wedding day
to slip into his car, as he slipped into you
and i collapse, two-thousand-and-twenty-six miles away
as if i were only across the street, the sight of
betrayal burning into my retinas to forever
sear a brand of your name into my chest.

your essence is hand-printed across my hippocampus
and i wasted years of my life blaming myself
as a young fourteen-year-old girl, scraping away my skin
to find the word, “FAILURE,” the impending buzzword
of this double-letter score, the double-vision of
my oedipus complex forever glaring back at me in the mirror
wailing that i am not good enough, i am nothing without
two parents, that i am six tiles short of spelling out a
satisfying life and i should forfeit my letters and
gouge out my eyes.

but i will not succumb.

i have found muscle in this overbearing weight
because at fourteen i couldn’t lift a barbell in gym class,
my lanky, thin arms pathetically skinny and weak
and now i can bench-press enough distress to collapse a ribcage
and stop a beating heart.

and the clicking of your shoes will cease to exist
the dog has died, the floors are cleaner
the windows bring in more sunlight than ever before
not a tear has been shed in this house for months
there’s roses on the table with a note that is not
in your handwriting.

it’s as if you were never here.


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