The smell of boots and damp coats
staining the darkness
of the cupboard under the stairs.
The muffled screams and shouts.
Thumping foot steps rocking
the amniotic darkness
and the emptiness inside
when there’s nowhere to go
only knees to cuddle
and a sleeve full of tears.

On a good day, this darkness
will seep into the mind
empty it of thought.
On a bad day
it goes on and on and on
and fear breaks in,
old bruises throb
in the memory.

In the long silence
after the door slams
straining to hear her hand
upon the handle,
to see her face again,
the blackening eye,
the swelling lip,
holding on tight
forever and ever and ever
in the dark.


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