I Hear

I fell asleep listening to your scars like they were a lullaby for the first nine months because I was a newborn or because you seemed so innocent, a mouth that made promises your eyes couldn’t deliver, stillborn in my hands because your hands are world travelers while mine are two cups of tea waiting for you when you decide to come home.

I fell asleep listening to your scars like they were a symphony for the next nine months, keeping me up at night and muted. Staying alive through those eardrum bursters is my heart’s Vietnam; spoiler alert, not all boys come back to their parents unscathed, some are just body bags that sit down to dinner at night, and we always pull out.

I fell asleep listening to your scars like they were a static signal for the next six months, like they were broken bunny ears or words under breath. They don’t tell you everything is a once in a lifetime because your hands-pressed, creased lifeline doesn’t loop back around to when you were nineteen and she was the most beautiful girl in the world and your forevers were parallel correspondences written from adjacent prisons. You were finished months before I got the sit-down talk and wall-punches in a manila envelope slid back under the door, reading, “I am sorry, but it hurts how much I do not love you.”

I fell asleep listening to your scars like they were a car crash, a tidal wave, a back alley gunshot wound, that moment in the night when you wake up thinking about him with the noose around his neck and stepping off dining room furniture, the wailing in my ears when my breath stops the head between my knees, attack is not violent enough a word for what you did to my body, my body my body my body and me, turn the screen back on so I can finally sleep.

I fell asleep to your scars like they were silence.

I woke up to your scars still holding that boy’s hand in the morning whispering, “God oh God, thank God you are such a beautiful survivor.”

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