how did you stay
this long, in here, like this, they ask
of me the captive,
after release from the dark
‘escape’ is more like it though
I think but I do not speak
hard raw bleeding escape
from long back-breaking captivity
that was called a marriage

upon being free
they all deem it fit,
those that sympathise
understand my agony
friends, do-gooders, family,
aides of mine, they opine
why did you stay this long,
they ask, their face casual frowns
in the face of my brokenness
if it was so horrifying,
they reason aloud,
why didn’t you leave?
they silence me
just as I learn again to speak
why did you not
protect yourself from harm
like an animal does
when you saw an opening
why didn’t you scurry
out of the trap
why didn’t you run?

had I been but an animal,
I thought but did not speak,
words I was used to
choking upon
shoved right back 
into my throat
the moment they showed
averse to risk more bleeding
I learnt to swallow blood
drowning from fear
of being heard—
had been animal
I would have howled, I think,
when he chased me
salivating upon my fear,
his face and tongue as an axe in hand
his body leaning towards in rage
threatening to burn my face
his body, burning with hate
had I been animal
I may have shrieked, fled
when he shamed me before the pack
I would have bit him right back
munching on his heart
before he tore mine apart
had I been animal
I wouldn’t have thought him unwell
and loved him through his hate
and promised to be there
as he tore me, left me bare
I would scarcely have woken each morning
after being buried alive the night before
making myself whole
making myself a bowl
and hoping against hope
that there were things
I could do to make it all stop

but I am human
used to coating everything
with reason, or lies, or resilience
that was after all the trap
the playing of a human part
making me believe in
my own oppression
the gaslighting worked
telling me that I must fix
what I never broke, thats what they said,
I listened not to instinct but to them
I knew little of his kind
when I signed up
and wrote myself into this script of torment
how terribly the odds were stacked
I would be blind
to its every twist and turn
from the start, to the fact
that the bleeding pen
would always remain
in his, in their manipulating hands
little did I know as I do now,
that lover and abuser
would become synonymous
one word, one body
leaking into each other,
as I walked into his world back then
with the confidence of a love
that could melt a thousand hearts
and start a fire with an arch of a back
that I would be handing over
that self, that tongue, that fire
to this calibrated mess
that before his darkness
they would all be soon
drawing a painful blank

I would have left
had I known what leaving was
had my human past not taught
that I stay put where I hurt

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *