by LaDonna Witmer

Tell me where it hurts.

Tell me how they hit you
where it counts.

Tell me how you saw it coming
for years, for miles
but still rocked back
still reeled in shock.

Tell me how you wish your tears were acid.

Tell me how they’d hiss and crater
when they splashed the ground.

Tell me how you’d cry forever
if tears would burn this whole thing down

Tell me how the flames spark and flicker
on the raw red backs of eyelids. Tell me
how they haunt you like a premonition.

Like a memory.

Tell me when it’s time to call the corners.

Tell me of the rage that simmers
in your breast, left and right
and in the heavy places
you cannot even name.

Tell me how these fear-drenched days just
keep the heat high
keep the lips stiff
keep the lies coming.

Tell me when you know the sound
of your own bones breaking.

Tell me of the wet suck and rattle
as that last malnourished hope
swirls the drain
and drags you
down.

Tell me if you can look her in the eye
your youngest daughter.

Everything has never been okay.

(written 10.26.20 upon the confirmation of ACB to the Supreme Court)

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