my father taught me anger at his knee, made me
breakable. i tore my heart out of its chest, drew maps
to places even his ghosts wouldn’t haunt.
i think leaving will always be the easy thing to do.
i think i will love him a little less every day.
my lover has coal-dark eyes and callused hands.
he holds himself around me like an anchor,
lone ship in the sea. these are not misleading things.
the last time someone hit me, i was seventeen.
i remember thinking it tastes like blood before
his hand connects, bone against bone, pushing
into my skin. bile rises against my tongue.
i scream like a wounded thing, wild and hungry,
a feral, animal noise. out of anger, rather than hurt.
i use it as a weapon instead of a crutch.
he lets me go. he doesn’t hit me anymore.
| rabia kazmi