In and out you weave your way through the shadows,
clumsily tripping over my memories of you,
searching, ravaging, fiendishly shredding
and ripping me apart at the seams
as you try desperately to break your way back in.
I feel you pounding and rapping against the warm, porous vault of my skull
as if there were some combination to make me forget,
as if there were some way to erase the truth and fill me with more lies
to make me acquiesce to your will,
to make me rip down the fort I erected to protect myself,
to deny me the right to keep that incessant hissing of your voice
as far behind me as I can to bar you from
putting me down
claiming ownership of me.
It echoes against my will
as it screams in a chaotic shrill
distracting me from the business at hand,
oozing in through a crack I didn’t know was there,
breaking in and stripping away my peace by force,
against my will,
pulling me back to the past.
Suddenly, with but a mere glance at the perfect angle
the numbers on the invoice fade into the background,
the normal sounds of the office shrink away and suddenly
I am being dragged along the floor by my hair,
my nails feverishly digging into the carpet,
just trying to get enough leverage to win back control.
So you won’t back me in that corner,
pressed hopelessly against the pale yellow walls, now cracked with age,
eyes cast down to the calico brown carpet that I didn’t pick out,
both arms raised above my head,
as you raise the cool metal over me, summoning the evil from within,
and brandish it about before you slam it against my bare legs.
Back to where I cower,
debased and dehumanized by your mockery
as I desperately beg for mercy from the demon standing before me.
Back to before as you lift me up by my hair,
punch me in the head,
throw me down on the bed and smother me.
Back to that day when you throw me around like a rag doll
against the dressers, the bed frame,
the night tables,
spilling the drawers, strewing the contents resting on the glass table tops
across the floor like a tornado that nature could never rival.
Back to feel you wrap the stockings around my neck
like a tourniquet.
Back to me as I lie precariously half on the floor,
suspended in the air by the nylon weapon furiously taut in your hands,
flailing and kicking,
biting at your hands,
desperately trying to push you off,
urgently tugging and pulling at the constriction binding my throat,
pleading with widened, fear-flooded eyes for you get to away,
begging and pleading for your permission to get some air.
To spare my wretched, worthless life.
Hoping that a monster will relent and extend mercy.
Channels flipping in my head –
a horror film only I can see
when my work line rings,
when that music plays,
when someone tries to sneak in peppers and onions into my food,
when I smell pine cleaner,
when someone speaks in anger,
when someone takes away my choices–
Knives at my throat
Tire iron above my head in the blackness of a cold winter night
Bullets in my face
Metal bars and pipes
Open hands and closed fists
Bruised up, banged up, and swollen
When the channel changes again,
I’m back in my chair facing my monitor,
and he is gone,
but for a moment or more
he still lingers,
hissing at me,
waiting for me to break.
The fear is there.
The sadness is there.
The memories never seem to leave.
Images in my head that bring back desperation
that no one seems to understand or allow,
but I don’t need your permission and I don’t have a choice.
I don’t need your condescension
or your holier-than-thou haughtiness
staring down the ridge of your nose in impatience.
Crazy, you call me crazy
and still the memories flood after the dam breaks,
swallowing up everything I built back up in the black torrent of him.
In the wake of the monster.
Crazy, you say,
but still the channels jump and dance
and pull me back to the terror,
to the times he almost killed me,
to the loneliness and distress of the pressure cooker.
Crazy, you persist,
but I’m not the one casting judgment
and trying push someone back down
when they only just got back up.
The images come.
The darkness floods.
And I just yearn to change the channel.