Instead, I stayed.
An odd choice, maybe,
because of the smells that clawed their way
from the crawl space,
mice screeching to heavens for air.
The boys’ wallets that littered the floor of his car
like dead leaves tracked in on boots.
I learned about monsters
who climb into marriage beds
at my mother’s dining room table.
I learned that you deal with monsters
by letting them live in the corner of your eye.
That keeps them out of your living room.
On top of this house which crushes adolescent corpses,
I solidify into a monument
to every woman who has had something
inhuman chew its way through her womb.
Every pair of lips which has brushed a cheek goodnight
and convinced herself she couldn’t taste the blood of another.
The shameful brush of relief’s cold fingers —
that he’s taken his violence to someone else’s doorstep.
’Til death do us part, which means, sometimes,
you close your eyes and turn away.