Number Eight

woman opening window        K. Barratt

The first time he hit me,

I thought it was an accident,

As he knelt, begging for forgiveness.

The second time he hit me,

He curved me like an “S”,

Until my knees bent and

I bit my lips, to not scream.

The third time he hit me,

The radio-clock left me with

A black eye and a grazed cheek.

And I knew there were no accidents.

The sixth time he hit me,

He threw me against the low

Back of a chair. It bit hard

My sternum and ribs.

The seventh time he hit me,

I was already on the floor.

And he kicked and kicked,

The womb cradling a baby.

Or so we thought.

He told me not to shriek

And me, the obedient wife,

Obliged. Because I knew

There may be an eighth time,

Of him hurting me.

But never, ever, a number nine.

I packed my suitcase that day.

He offered his fist and I hit

Him with it.

He grabbed and ripped off

Part of my shirt

As I walked away.

I kept on walking, with

The red scratches made

By his sharp nails branding my

Now bared back.

He said he would kill himself.

I stopped at that.

Opened the window, me,

The obedient wife,

And told him to prove

Himself right -just

To make sure to land

On his head, to make it

Painless and fast.

He did not move. I left.

Bruised, bloodied, half-dressed.

I left. 

And as I predicted,

There was no pain after number eight.


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