Three letters I've been writing. One within a love, two on thin wooden plaques, the last, intercepted from
her father, crossing off his signature, underlining mine.
The plaques I wrap and seal and send while burning the others in vellum.
"Then don't ask forgiveness for half-imagined abuse," she mutters, reaching for the keys.
Insisting her father never beat her. Belittled her, here and there, when he'd been drinking.
Said she'd never be a leader. Maybe he was right. She isn't big on fighting. Tried killing
herself when her boyfriend left to find the good life. I became the consolation.
I swear I hardly hit her. Maybe punched her arms, or pulled her soft blond hair
—its smell like honeysuckle, warm running water, her hair up under it, reaching with her
neck, flicking drops on her shoulders,
she'd lean her towel-turbaned head on my chest and fall asleep on my lap.
Even with the shades drawn I could tell it was snowing: paisley white and paisley gray.
She liked to pose in freshly drawn hieroglyphs, a shadow caught mid flight, love that mattered less each
day, and spring that left me seeking assurance:
Absence from the litany she enacts for new friends. My name unspoken, particulars forgotten.
No restraining order, no growing fond, no fiery sword in her smoking mouth.
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