CW: implied sexual assault

A land like a body decayed. 

He holds me as winter hits. 

I reciprocate his warmth. Between us, 

A silent spring, 

Hummingbirds heave and sing, 

The leaves watch. 

As he leaves, dawn. 

A honey-hollow beyond the woods. 

Over-ripe fruits hang on 

Over-heavy boughs. 

Winter hangs over the house like a death-promise. 

I return to the woods, 

Sleep-walking, sleep-talking, sleep-waking 

Through distant sounds of wedding celebrations,

Një martesë e lumtur.

Next door, silence.

An old woman sits alone, love-lost. 

The TV flickers momentarily, 

Night follows. 

He knocks, enters the guest room, 

Lights the gaslamp. 

My mothers’ paintings stain the wall with a red and blue so deep it reminds me of her red-stained, silently scared lips in her wedding day photo, the one we rarely see. 

He takes me to the master bedroom. All that’s left of my uncle’s marriage are its effects. 

Rumpled bed sheets, 

A dresser stand crowned with lipsticks, burning red.

A hint of shattered glass near the door.

A bowl of bruised fruit, gathering dust. 

I refuse his advances, 

Escape the room, awash with fury. 

The river near the house welcomes my anger. A ray of drowned sunlight charges the water with colour. I ritually trace my childhood steps, 

Those taken every summer, when we’d load up carts full of over-ripe fruit and 

Frame the riverbed with rot, 

And laugh, 

And leave.

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