The winter night leaves a survivor.

a flash, breaks the sky into three pieces
        above: the dark clouds illuminate to frighten black rain
        horizon: bleeds burgundy crayon, cracked & rough
        below: an abyss, barren. drapes flapping against windows hanging by hinges
only a naked crow flutters in for safety from the storm after the men leave her
        alone with the thrown coins that make dents in the wooden floors.
mother crumbles against brick, praying for warmth to fill
        the empty apartment replacing the concrete foliage drifting from
windowsill to floorboards. her hands grip the creased dress, melting — or freezing —
        onto the red-smeared wall. I watched the shadows from behind my opaque curtains as
they shoved her
        away & laughed as the words “lady of the night” burned her slumped
shoulders where they clawed their hundreds of initials into raw skin until
        blood mixed with rusted water from the shower she can’t afford. how her brand
is beautiful like the mother who rocks me to sleep & wears silver shawls
        smiling coyly through sparkling cloth that’s now the pillow
that tangles glitter into her snow-damp blonde hair with soft brown roots. curled up & head
        down, staring into my pale face before her breaths become shallow, before my eyes can
only see vacancy, so I mimic her. I kick, but her ocean eyes only drip water onto her
        dress, my dress. the darkness slaps me in the face, suffocates my head until the burning
curtains wrap against my ears &
        knees that stiffen when she hums Mozart or Beethoven or unborn lullabies because I know
she would rather play piano than hide with me in the corner. but I’m insufferably unbearably
        inescapable without the strength for a clinic or to raise me without a father who loves me
& used to love my mother’s body, her voice when the lone screams reverberated, which
        echo now along the bare room so that I hear them in the lungs above my head,
about to burst from the curtain tightening from the tip of my hairs down to my neck.
        her screams draw blood from my ears, where I cannot understand pain unless
it squeezes & dances around my heart so I scream too because she created
        my heart. but the new musty cold licks my neck & opens my ears when they tell me
there is

only one voice.

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