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The hardest part about being in an abusive relationship is leaving it.

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Fume Check
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The smell of the last four years –

ocean-kissed skin in a landlocked-hell

– wraps itself thick in my psyche.

I go back to the beginning,

and there is sunscreen, chlorine,

and hope hanging at the corners of a smile

that don’t quite reach his eyes.

It’s the first red flag I dig up with careful fingers,

but still split my palms on the stake

despite best intentions

and hope he can wash out the scarlet.


I lay each memory on the table,

thin, brittle, malnourished creatures

he whispers I love you to

as he runs the scalpel down the spines,

I will never hurt you when the blade tip

flicks open ribs like angel wings,

I will always be there for you and the kaleidoscope shifts

– you’re alone with the florescent buzz,

your heart beating crimson in your hands.


Every lie -

an exercise in being held down

in the dark of the bathtub

and being told it was safe

to breathe.


In hindsight,

I never stopped feeling

the gas crawling its way

into my lungs –


I just decided

drowning

was better

than being

alone.

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