you are so sane
I tell you about the woman
who told me
how her husband beat her so hard
her jaw collapsed and all her teeth
poured out whole from her broken mouth
while she tried to crawl, run, get away
fifteen feet to safety
and how the hospital stitched her up,
put her teeth in her hand in a plastic baggie
and told her brightly to go
back home to her batterer
–and you were shocked, I saw it!
couldn’t listen for the words hammering home
for the sight of
white teeth falling dazed in a pool of blood
as the world careened crazily, trying to breathe
as the fist came down again, a month spent in hiding
face black hot bruised skin stretched so tight
a touch would split it open
and the fist–
no, no, it was too much
you couldn’t listen, couldn’t believe, shock
that anyone would do this, anyone!
It horrified you. I could see that.
You hadn’t thought of it, hadn’t lain awake
too many nights buried under the weight of a thousand stories
knowing your heart is too numb, too beaten to respond one more time
knowing that one more story will crack you open
send the pain spilling to the stones in an endless stream of blood
as you stare in shock at your life tumbling out like teeth before you
as the hot tears blind you now, forever, all that mourning, all that pain.
You were shocked. I saw that,
–and amazed. Domestic violence doesn’t rule your life, horrors
don’t stalk you in your dreams.
you remind me of the world I’m fighting for.