13/15 poem

Broomhilda, part one

You didn’t know at the time, but the first
time Django saw you, since the separation,
was when they pulled you out of the hot box,
screaming from the water they hurled onto
your nude body to wake you up, screaming
as they carried you into the house. At some
point, while you are lying together in bed,
married, free, he will summon the will to
ask what had been done to you. His throat
will swell as if downing a full grown apple.
His fingers will reflexively wrap around a gun
that is not there, not in bed, but sitting in its holster
with the pants on the floor. He will ask you
of this out of love for you, in honor of your
story, for somehow you had survived as steeled
as him. He will ask how long you were forced to lay in the
laps and arms of evil men, how many times
your skin was forced to heal by growing
on top of itself, in lines of lash.
When you look at him, finally, deciding what snippet
of hell to offer as an answer, I imagine you will
tell him about a moment when you’d smiled
in the box, when the dark and hot had molded itself
into a body, had wrapped around her as if trying
to speak her skin correctly for the very first time.

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