By Allyn Bernkopf

Because it started with Monarchs stretching inside your chest
And silkworms inching up your stomach walls. Remember.

Because his touch singed your skin before it made a mess
And his lips muffled playful protests, please, remember.

Because his sharp words increased pressure behind your eyes
And his arguments removed load-baring beams from your brain, remember.

Because his repetitions sounded like botched revision
You swear you told him not to grab you round the neck, remember.

Because you swore you’d try hard, gathered feathers to preserve
A successful flight but watched him burn stolen plumes. Remember. 

Because it took you moving 1,200 miles away, gutting yourself 
From acidic words and thoughts, nailed “healing” to forehead, remember.

Because he made and kept promises like mosquitos, gorging himself,
Taking as much as possible, leaving you neurologically grasping, 

Remember, Allyn. Remember.

Photo by Sinitta Leunen