My Therapist Says the Abuse Wasn’t Love
Progress—we’ve taken to sunsets at the beach close to your house. Laughing, I’ve chased you into the waves. You’re always so patient with me, even when your face says it all: lips pulled over your teeth, furrow set in the brow. I love that about you. We’ve been going steady a year now; today I’m treading lightly. You don’t need to say anything, love—I know you’re no good with words; it’s the thought that counts. I’ll say it: sorry is nothing if it isn’t true, & I’m getting better at seeing the signs: yesterday, the flush told me the tide was coming in. Was it your cheeks or mine? Scared, I hid in the laundry room; I cried before your hand came down. I understood: I’m only a thing to keep you above water. You’re always at your most honest the evening after; how you nuzzle my hair—an apology says so much less. But love, where has your head gone now, your shoulders are gliding back, vanishing in blue. Who needs respect when your hand’s slipping from my waist, no longer quite solid, the low thrum frantic, push pull kick, my legs bright, burning—wait, I need you to get back, I won’t make it far without you with me—together, distant.
My Therapist Tells Me the Abuse Wasn’t Love
after Taneum Bambrick
You’re not listening to me either. What you know is what I have done to myself. You picture a heart gutted from fishing line; I see the man who kissed me before it hooked through. I’m in love, not stupid— a Heaven void of respect is just a dark room with blood on the walls. That’s not what this is about. The problem isn’t what’s stained his hands; it’s defending the boogeyman for wearing the face of my beloved. This wasn’t the first thing I’ve done against my will—I left Heaven in a night & I yanked the reel clean from my heart myself. You’re not the first person I’ve explained this to.