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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