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May 2019
I used to wake up missing him, as if we didn’t spend almost every waking minute in each other’s presence. As if I didn’t hear his voice more than my own.
“Your shadow doesn’t belong to you. I know where you’ve been.”
“I have no reason to lie,” he would recite to me.
That was our nightly tradition.
I would watch him sit across from me at the dinner table,
telling me that he never did mean to hurt me, with my heart on his plate.
I packed ahead of time, and reorganized my regrets to make room for our relationship.
I crumpled up the letter I wrote and put it in my back pocket.
I couldn’t bring myself to explain why I had to leave him; my absence would be devastating enough.

He would make his fabrications fit into the palm of his hand and smack me with them.
I was born and raised by the backhand of heartbreak so it was home away from home when I ran away to him.
Instead of standing up for myself
I wrote poetry so hot that I would burn his mouth every time I tried to feed him.
He was a better cook anyway.

My grandmother, when I sought her wise council,
told me that I should accept the pain and try to make something out of it.

I remember when I tried to make love out of my pain for the last time.
He clawed my spirit out of me, put it under my head like a pillow.
He laid on top of me, grinding into my pelvic bone, making heat that burned my skin.
The bite marks on my chest stung when his sweat dripped on me.
I closed my eyes and saw the manifestation of my fears.
My body finally gave out after running from my ******, and he came when I did.

As he slept, I cleaned the blood from under his fingernails.
Jalisa Allycia
Written by
Jalisa Allycia  25/F/New York
(25/F/New York)   
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