Naught but This City

I slip on my ripped up tee-shirt,

Covering last night’s bruises.

I face grey eyes in the mirror,

Rimmed with dark purple splotches.

Sissy gives me a hug goodbye,

And we head our separate ways;

The heat is stifling and thick;

Georgia and her sweet revenge.

I do my time in the jail-cell,

Taking each word in slowly.

They congest my mouth with paper,

Fill my throbbing veins with ink.

I puke out the information

And purge facts from my insides.

The walk home is long and fetid;

The air smells of loss and piss.

I pass poor and rich folk alike,

Bound to naught but this city.

When I get back home he’s angry,

And I feel his swinging fist;

Sissy cowers in the kitchen–

Not the first time, but she’s scared.

I take it like the times before–

Better to accept the pain;

At least then he won’t hurt Sissy

And we can both stay alive.

Next morning I put on my shirt,

And cover last night’s bruises.

Today they’ll fill my veins with ink,

Tonight he’ll hit me again.

I look at myself in the glass,

See the grey eyes rimmed with red.

Beside a fresh bruise is a grin;

For I have one thing they don’t:

Love.

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