Things Impossible to Swallow • poems by Pamela Garvey • number 24 in the 2River Chapbook Series2River

Things Impossible to Swallow

Her own ecstasy when he tied her
to the bed, and she begged as the rope
wore at the skin of her wrists.

Did she really lap up every touch, every
word that soured her own laugh?

She scrubbed floors and tubs and crawled
around looking for loose change.  

She breathed in his logic: a vapor,
a mercury leaching into veins, into
the fatty tissue that holds it in.

That smack she held in with the rising temperatures
of work, pay, poor and no time
to read. She’d become stupid, he said. And the heat
to hit him seared her silent.

Still she returned daily to the mirror he held for her.

Herself accused by that image yet ready
to swear over bibles.

But whose story did she tell? Who threatened
to leave? Was that her pounding on doors,
bills wound into fists?

And her, pleading:
a dog that doesn’t even know when it’s full?