Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Basement

She lingers outside the basement
Facing the closed door
Hugging her middle – she shivers

The door wasn’t this white last December
Or two years ago
When her mom repainted the kitchen

The knob, too, is duller bronze
And locked in place
Like a cocked rifle

Her shoulders shudder – crossed arms
Fingertips crimpling t-shirt fabric
The door was definitely not this white

Her eyes slam shut like dumpster lids
She remembers
What happened behind that door

Before she could even turn the kitchen lights on
Or remove her snow-spotted coat
He was pushing her down the stairs

Her lips curl over her teeth – she remembers
How his legs pinched her waist
Like a hungry bear trap

He forced his meat in her mouth
Vomit burns the back of her throat
She still tastes his salty brown flesh

Feels the freezing cement on her scalp
Her neck stiffens
The door couldn’t have been this white that December day

A rapid thud behind the basement door
Stampedes her pulse
Shoots her eyes open like high beams
And beats closer until

The door swings open
She falls back
Landing on her wrists
They crack like kindling

She’s angled on the linoleum
And her mother stands over her
Carrying a laundry basket
Overflowing with brown towels

“What are you doing on the floor?”
She props the basket on the couch
To fold the towels before they wrinkle
And forgets to close the door behind her

“Please empty the dishwasher like I asked”

But the dungeon is gaping, perpetually laughing
Her ponytail loosens as she scrambles
On her hands and knees

To grab the knob and hush the bully
Sloppily shutting him up pushing her back
Against him hugging her calves to her chest

Could the door have been this white this whole time?

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