The Forest of My Trees

You stripped

all the buds from my sapling twigs, you flexed

me like a whip until I cracked.

I flicked up your body and touched

you without my leaves, with no

freshness in my child’s hands, ’cause I knew

how to get you off. I knew how to hurt

myself on your bark, I knew

how to fall out of your tree. I could cut

you down without thinking, almost

without knowing who I was, and I believed

I was your wife, or your property. I said

nothing when you wanted me to be quiet, I said

the strange lies when you wanted something else, I said

I was your whore, I was your devil

in an angel’s nightgown, I was your secret, stolen

into your bed, and no one noticed.

It was pretty weird the way you always got away

with what you wanted, all your games,

and your tricks, and your tools waiting

in the nightstand for your sick fix.

You were engineering

a childlike robot, you were tinkering

with a splitting machine that could tear

itself in half like a worm and split

again into 4, then 8, then 16…and more

and more. You made an army out of me. I marched

under the radar at your command, I never went

AWOL or anything, I lay

at attention when you undressed

me, never flinching — except when your bombs fell.

I was a newly-sprouted forest under siege, I swung

like a catapult when you pulled

on me. I learned how not to be,

how not to be anything

but movement, just actions, just response, cold reaction.

I learned how not to be anyone, but I was everyone

you needed me to be, I was all or nothing

every day of my life and I sank

into the black and white world, happy unreality

playing with my toys so politely. And you bragged

that I was gifted, but you hated

that I was smart so you tore me up, you tore

me down. So I took your touch

like a comfort and found something to want

in your sick lust, I found rewards in punishments

that nearly broke me, I found love

enough to keep me quiet, keep me pleading,

keep me ashamed and terrified

that you would never let me go, or that you would

send me away. It was war, it was chaos, it was blood

and snot and semen and shit, it was real

it was real, it was real, it was real, it was real.

It was real.

This is what happened to me.

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