Her small exhausted body wobbles,
too frail to run on uneven hooves,
no energy to eat. Don’t call her cute,
don’t trivialize her reality. Stepping
closer to check an angle in her spine,
her eyes go dark as she holds her breath.
Feeling her fear, I’m dragged back to his
voice, “No one will believe you!” His laugh
boomed through the bathroom door,
drowning my threat to call the police.
Moments before, he pinned my wrists,
his body heavy with rage and moist violence.
My jaw locked open, without the air to scream.
Another laugh, as his boot lands, the doorknob
rattled but held. In an hour, the front door
closed behind him; I hurried a few things into
a trash bag and ran. Months later, I told my
parents, from the back seat of the car. Forty
miles of silence then, forty years of telling since,
bring me to this tiny moment with a small life of
no more consequence than mine. She deserves
rage more than sympathy. She deserves a scream
shrill enough to burst the eardrums of people who
ignore the muted cries of women, children, animals.