Alive in a dead man’s land,
I could feel my mother’s hands
scraping the ground in search of me.
I could hear murmurs of the living
like lost notes of music
leaching into the earth.
He promised me his whole kingdom, only because
he sensed my choked yearnings for
air, sky, light.
While he slept I planned my escape—
the routes of darkness I would have to take.
He’d wake suddenly, his hands hooking my heels.
His obsidian beauty could still stun me back.
Once I dreamt he tore the skin of my chest,
grabbed my heart for his own—bruised muscle
gorged and suffering in his hands.
I awoke knowing
that I needed to live
where the light could find me.
Sometimes I still crave him.
I hear my body’s dark gnawing,
like a tooth set deep in each bone.