she's beautiful
in a bee-stung-lips and barbed-tongue kind of way,
and once she had them crying beneath her thumb,
throwing up every last lettuce leaf
to fit into her shadow.
once she used to knot up their insecurities and
shove it down their throats till
they were choking on her smirk
and calling for mommy.

now she cowers under his arm,
shrinking into herself and unbuttoning her shirt
quick as you can count
and then she's laughing at the irony of it all
until bruises bloom over her breasts
and her waist begins to whisper an apology
of its own accord.

"Too late," she murmurs back, chuckling still.
"It's penance, sugarpie."