Then I must sleep in a sheet twisted
tight with blood, stomach heavy through the night.
Then I know the scream of the ferry.
Then “family” a word that stirs and stirs.
What use are doors in this weather? Of course
we hear everything— Father’s moans ghost
through walls like cheesecloth. Here is a day.
Here is another.
There’s nothing to do but eat,
piling one plate then the next, pears
plummeting from the backyard brown as
blood. Father never
talks anymore, and Mrs Borden
changes in my sleep to someone
who is still alive. We always lock our
rooms. My nightgown the finest terricloth
or linen. Look at my face, my flushed cheek,
my lips. Look at my tenderness.
If I told you it was an intruder who did it,
would you take my hand in yours
and touch my trembling back?
It was. It was. Oh God, it was.