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Prose poetry by E.M. Lark

(The Dream Where) I Break His Teeth and He Pays For My Medical Bill

I am braver there. These bastards do not scare me. Their voices do not crack the foundations of a home I have fought to keep together. Their names grit out from behind my teeth, monosyllabic curses that they will regret ever being born with. And the longer their names are, the longer I have to tear them to shreds. So it’s a lose-lose draw for anyone who dares cross me this time.

I am stronger there. I do not hesitate to scream, to raise my voice back and throw a swing the way I should. My fist lands square on his jaw and I hear it crack beneath my knuckles. My whole arm lances with a pain I have scarcely ever known, but I do not pull back. I do not cry in front of him because he does not deserve to see me cry. And anyone who has told me that violence never solved anything, needs to say it to my fifteen-year-old-self’s face first. They have never seen the pain that my loved ones have endured, biting the bullet over and over until their teeth shattered. I will hit harder.

I am ruthless there. I am off the rails, out of control, and I am all the freer for it. I am a baseball bat shattering through a windshield, a knife slashing three tires, a loaded gun shot into the wall to kill his eardrums. I do not aim to kill but I will aim to make them fear me. Just in case they think they can try me again, I can and will be ready. No one asked about our safety. Our security. So I will not be ensuring theirs. I am waiting outside.

I am the seven foot shadow following him home. I am tired of hearing about how he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. I grow weary of how he screams loud enough to make another cry, how he bulldozes a world that dares to stand in his way. He is fragile and I plan to prove it, because I can see him look over his shoulder with the same fear trapped in his eyes.

I am the blood choking up his throat. I am the call for help that never gets made. I am the last thing he sees.

E.M. Lark

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