you press bruises onto young girls' skin with a
sharp tongue & heavy fingers
with those hard, ugly eyes -

here, you dare to dream i dwell on bad dreams.
no,
i prefer shadows of thoughts to the visions
i prefer the shade of your touch to sensation.

those greasy lips and their caustic, dead taste
now i see them in the past
(&they are broken and bleeding
the seal undone like too many tangled wires)
today i'll rejoice.

dogs eat their own shit;
you, too,
consume fecal matter until every cell turns rancid and brown;
you hunt with diseased crooked teeth
sometimes to eat the children's wombs but more often to infect
(oh leper, i thought your skin was golden once but
preying on the young does not make you younger).

my mind is as broken as my purity?
when were you declared my God? my Judge?
my Jury?

know that two autumns are nothing oh,
how could that slip?
i spent years lamenting broken homes
i spoke of a sharper tongue and
the cruel eyes that gave me mine.

afterall, i told you
i was born from evil,
the kind that leeches onto a kinder vessel.

where was the sanctity of my matriarch?
maybe it was broken then i saw it crumble
i saw shelter slip away.

i mean his seed was corrupted &
so were his hands

those manicured hands that smoothed over years
that plastered his own sin onto my skin onto theirs -

& i mean if that slides behind closed eyes
if that hides in corners, tethered, bound
if i still move, twisted but alive –

then i am alive & more
of a woman than virgin lips and eyes and ears.