CW: Domestic violence
Look at you
Writing poems about me
Because that is your job.
You published under a different name,
But I recognised the slander
I knew it was about me.
You pulled pies from the oven (burned)
I saw your arm
Which had bruises on it.
I had done that, on a morning, maybe ten:
In the same clothes as yesterday, on my way back in
Through the front door.
Still scented with perfume (not yours) that I knew
Lingered on my lips (I could taste it).
You had kissed me hello, moving back my hair
And I saw something redden in your eyes,
And you smiled but you seemed to struggle for breath
As well as words,
And you walked away quickly
With your head bowed.
(You might have mumbled something about
Tending to the baby.)
I didn’t sleep in the bed that night
Because I was crying myself to sleep (on the sofa).
I’m sure she was too, upstairs in the bed
Who was so good with the children
Saw them, without seeing them.
Your head was hollow, your vision dark.
In their wails and screams you heard your own.
You grew sick and I could not play nurse for you.
I stood outside the door, listening for your breathing, but
I did not go in.
When you were up again (I was still well)
Something had changed: you had your smiles back.
But your relation to them
Was not the same. You kissed me out of choice and it felt wrong.
I didn’t return again that night. It was routine now.
What I was doing.
She started doing it too. Some nights I am sure
The baby was left alone in the house.
The day before you went,
We had a conversation.
It was about the situation. It involved many things;
I felt many things.
I wanted to kiss you, even though I didn’t love you.
I wanted you, all the more because I knew
Someone else was getting you.
What does that mean now?
You knew it as well.
We went to our separate beds. I knew you wanted to join me
Somewhere inside you. You wanted me,
Somewhere inside you.
The next day you were gone. You must have left very early,
Because I rose with the sun, and saw fresh frost on grass and rooftops –
The jewellery of the mist. There were no tracks, there was nothing.
You had taken the baby.
I had failed our marriage.