A Reverse Timeline of Domestic Abuse

Image Source: “Time is an Illusion” by vickysandoval22 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

[Trigger warning: This poem contains mentions and discussions of physical assault and relationship violence.]

<<

Someone had once called her eyes
“beautiful like a summer sunset.”

<<

She walks sidewards into
a low hung-ceiling, then curses.
Her swollen eye, red and yellow,
is taking longer to heal today. 

<<

A baby cries in the corner.
A woman lies on the floor, bruised.
She closes her eyes, as 
husband-shaped knuckles
grow bigger.
Then they cover her face. Whole.

<<

“I’m so sorry”, a man holds her
to his chest. “I’m still 
new 
to 
the 
marriage.”
The sentences backspace into time
falling over each other.
They’re sucked into a
vacuum, like unsaid apologies.

<<

A shiver crawls down
her honeymoon dress. He hasn’t spoken for
fifty-seven seconds now. He finally does,
then pushes her down to the 
ground. Tears flow into the soil.
Drip drop. Saltwater.

<< 

A perpetual kiss
dies;
He rages out of the room
in the middle of the night. 
A clock strikes and naked bodies
untwine.
Scattered clothes fly back
onto two separate humans.

<< 

The light in her eye
wanes from red
to yellow.
Flickering blue.
Empty.

<<

Her barstool unwrinkles, as she
walks in reverse,
her footsteps zigzaging back to
the door.
The night smells of champagne
and a second date.

<<

A song plays on the radio.
Two sets of laughs 
are stifled
into silent hello’s.
The mixtape 
rolls backwards
choking on all things
it never said.
An unfinished melody is a bad omen.

<<

One fine day,
a man and a woman bump into
each other.

“Your eyes”, mutters the man.
“They’re beautiful
like a summer sunset.”

<<

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