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.