Archive for July 1st, 2017

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Harm by Dawn Potter

The bruises leer at her,
mottled, black,
as if Satan has beaten her soft
white thighs with a hammer.
Who’d be hitting on you?
the man laughs, askance. This is a joke
but not a joke.
The bruises are as fat as fists
and they reek of evil.

It wasn’t him, don’t think it—
not him, not him.
God’s truth, she’s got no one
to blame but herself.
She bumps into walls and doorframes,
trips over chairs, collides with stone.
Fifty years old, and she still
doesn’t know where her body is
or what it’s supposed to be doing.

The bruises appear without warning,
mornings mostly.
The colors shift—from black, to purple, to a sick
and bloodless green,
hue of the sky on Judgment Day.
Maybe it’s sleep,
maybe the demons are bent on killing her,
but the only details that cling
are a small cat, a spoon, an empty road.

Bewildered, she stands at the mirror.
From the bed, the man asks,
Do they hurt?
Go ahead! the bruises cackle.
Tell him, tell him!
But she can’t speak the words for misery
or ignorance, the scrape of mortified flesh,
the peaceful hideous damage of dreams.


Date: 2016

By: Dawn Potter (19??- )