“The Fifth One Who Walked Away” by Carrie Rudzinski

For the first boy I ever loved
I drove five hours across an ocean of cornfields to crawl into his heat
Every time I left, he cut off one of my fingers and kept it in a clear jar under his bed
I wept the whole drive home
A trail of blood to find my way back
The second boy was just a distraction
The hum of the television and a pair of swollen eyes
He gnawed at my wrists, an ugly puppy
I’d have tasted good, even if I’d never spoken

The third was a fleet of sailboats spilling out across my tongue
A pair of calloused palms, desperation, licking my teeth
I was not so pretty when he opened his eyes

Fourth sewed my mouth shut
So I could only dance inside myself with heavy shoes
So I could pretend I loved him in desperate gestures
So I could unravel in his tired fists

My hands have been fools
They could not have been prepared for you
I talked them into your pockets
Filled their empty bellies with your beautiful lies
My strange american desert
My warm endless night

I did not know to fear the hands that loved you before my own
You stained her all over me
Left the windows open while I slept in your bed
Washed me with a sponge doused in her spit
Every night, I watched you slit off my skin and hang it on her bones
I could not open my mouth for fear she would come spilling out

Now I have been silent for so long
My fingers are tiny blind worms dancing in the night
I tell them stories of our life before the darkness
But I do not know if they believe me
I do not know if they recognise my own voice

Carrie Rudzinski (@shutterdove)