I drink the sound of you
In the darkness.
Begging for what I’ve given,
And for what you’ve taken
And I pray now
For the silence
Your blackened heart.
You didn’t know that’s what I was writing on that piece of parchment stained with your blood. Things have been a blur lately, all emotions, anger, and don’t touch me because I’ll scream. It wasn’t the first piece of parchment I’d burned and buried under the light of the full moon, but it would be the last. The last words I would never speak to you.
“You clumsy fucking worthless piece of shit!” was not the only peevish and pedantic phrase you used to scream into my face after a long night of booze and pills and dangling your cock at every skanky twat working the freeway. Your dinner was cold. You didn’t like the way I vacuumed the carpet or cooked your special meat. I had forgotten to record your favorite program, or maybe I’d simply bought the wrong kind of beer.You liked to call it an intervention, when you humbled me with your fist. Said it would make me a better lady, wife, and someday — mother. Said the discipline would save my soul from the voodoo spirits that had borne me out of some trailer trash womb, but it wasn’t, and it wouldn’t. It was simply your way of justifying the use of all the angry words you had become addicted to.
I didn’t have to listen, though.
I had this place I liked to hide whenever you got in one of your moods and decided to kick start a marital uprising. I liked to go there when it was dark and snow covered. I prayed there, sobbed there, and bled there. In the dirt on the floor, I would scratch things down in inches of minutia and then straightaway cross them out. I would leave pieces of myself in the corners — dissected thoughts and bits of hair and fingernails mixed with mud and saliva. I’ve piled up the worry stones over the years, on the stoop and up in the eves. I’d even wrote and re-wrote your obituary and passed the judgements I wasn’t entitled to pass, but nothing ever happened. Nothing good, anyway. Just dark, and cold, and quiet. Maybe it was like they said, when the shadows came to me hollow-eyed in the misty dawn. Maybe I wasn’t soulful enough, hungry enough, wilful enough … to leave the memories well enough alone, but I wouldn’t stop trying. Praying of them. Begging mercy of them.
I took your hair and fingernails while you slept. Scraped your semen from my bloody bludgeoned cunt when you finally said you’d had enough. I’d even collected your fallen eyelashes when I pretended I loved you and kissed you softly, and your spit when, in anger, it hit my face. I stood in the circle, called the watchtowers, and drew down the moon a thousand times since we took our vows. Since then I vowed to put you in your grave. I thought I might try arsenic and old lace. It grew wild and beautiful in the abandoned field behind our house. That’s when they first came to me, when I was barefoot, gathering weeds in the wood. They said they wanted the meat, but I didn’t know what they meant by that. Just the meat — no hair, no bone, no gristle. Only meat. So I made offerings: rats, chickens, even your dog. Gutted it with my bare hands in the mid-day sun, but I got nothing in return, except a beating — from you.
I went to the shed, you see. Even though you told me not to, ever. I found your “things” and wondered how many you’d tortured before me. I couldn’t remember you ever being this quiet when I put the claw hammer in your skull. Couldn’t remember you being this heavy when you lay on top of me, or that your skin was this tough. I was clumsy, like you always said, hacking away at you until the sun was set and the crickets had started chirping in the field. I lit a candle with my bloodied hands and just stared at your meat in the flickering light. You looked different to me then. I could finally see a softness in your glistening sinews.
They came for you that night, finally. After all the years and all my tears, they came, clicking and clawing their way out of the shadows to gnaw upon your rotted meat. They were hungry and waiting … for me.
I would never starve them like you did.
By Cheryl Anne Gardner