by Jessie Schartung

I have crawled through black air and smothered spaces
climbed barbed wire
and swam through poison
to escape from HIM

But I can never get away

His blue eyes darken
flame with rage
burn through me
set me on fire

His fingernails dig into my flesh
scrape my bones
pull me to that dark place
where I am his prisoner
trapped like a caged animal
beating against the bars
yearning to be free

He injects my legs with liquid lead
weighing me down
I can't run

He twists my arms
cracks and crushes my bones
until they are flimsy like rubber
then he ties them behind me
I can't swing at him

He wraps rusted chains around my waist
pulls them tighter
rubs my skin raw
squeezes the air out of me
I can't breathe

He covers my eyes with a blindfold
jerks the cloth tightly around my head
yanks it into a knot
I can't see

He laughs watching me squirm
I can hear him
My chin quivers
Tears well in my eyes
but I hold them back
I can't let him see me cry
I never do

I force myself to smile
It is my only weapon
He sees it
I know he sees it
because his laughter fades
then dies

He knows he has been defeated