He draws her in (for victims of domestic violence)

In the fading blue

on tender flesh

and in the scars now

hidden like

a leper’s sore,

lies a secret

too terrible,

too painful,

to share.


And so she treads

with care,

a not so tender care;

treads around him

like walking on fire,

not meeting his gaze,

not blocking his way.


Her voice is mute

and her eyes alert,

but she knows what’s arriving,

today or tomorrow,

this week or the next,

from the force of a hand,

through a push and a hit.


Then she must hide

till the damage fades,

till the terror shrinks,

till she can smile again

and say that

she is happy with her life,

with the cycle of her strife.


But then,

in the afterglow,

in the memory

of the scream

and the echo

of the thud,

he draws her in:

he shapes his tales

of devotion and love,

he speaks

of change and

the way he can be,

like fables told

and told again

so often

and so long

that she has

to believe,

wants to dream,

that there is a better man.


Now in the

cold light of

a sunless morn,

there is no sound

but the steady urgent click

of the clock on the wall,

pointing its hand,

pointing to the

still eyes that

once looked

with fear and care,

pointing to the head

now circled with

a halo of blood,

red fresh and violent splashed.