© 2023 by Ben Stower

Plaything

She’s had 3 kids by the age of 18

Raped by her daddy 'cause her mum expired

A mound in the ground while he steals her child

Takes her to bars, twirls her from man to man

Too scared to moan, too beaten to throw

herself from the best of the beasts.

 

The beast with the best excuses,

keeps her around with threats and abuses

his power of protection as he takes what he chooses,

knowing one day he’ll discard the left overs.

And all she can pray for is of the children he fathers

none of them look like her.

 

He’s kind when it makes him the hero

And a martyr when she begs for respite

There’s blood on his moustache from biting her neck

when she tried to break free

from another assault in the night.

 

She’s tried to brush off the bourbon

to cleans her skin of his sweat,

but it’s a minute too soon to be freeing

herself from his calloused grip.

 

It’s not the right date to be bleeding

But red runs through sheets to the bedsprings

Nightgown between legs she scampers

through the house, as he stomps in pursuit

 

She knows when she’s caught there’ll be bruises

and scratches and maybe some breaking

of the bones he’d helped create

when the best of the beasts laid waiting,

for a moment of weakness, an excuse too delicious

to take hold once again of its man.

 

In the morning she wakes to her crying

Not sure if its blood or the tears

that keeps her pillow from drying,

as she trembles with knees to her chest.

 

She treasures these mornings of silence

when he takes off to kill something wild.

On the bathroom the window behind her

looks out across the backyard.

Where three young juneberries bloom.

 

And she cries just a little more,

palm pressed to the glass,

when she thinks of who’s buried beneath.