Out of Use

/ Violet Ford

Poetry1 min reading time


This story contains descriptions of abuse.

Viewer discretion is advised. Proceed to view content?


Last week, he had two sinks in his bathroom,
one handle to twist daily, one out of use.
The door won’t close when I’m inside,
he teaches me to lock in right,
strain the hinges, hide the bruising.

Coyotes howl in his gutters when we leave,
cars’ whirring blends into our slurring speech.
Room number blurs as his staircase turns hazy,
water pollution drips from his window to stain me.

In the mirror, my skin is translucent, veins bulge;
he says I asked for it, honey-tongues his hard touch.
Carved through my hip bones, his comfort expires,
infection sets in and the pus kills desire.

He marks me down in his spreadsheet —
not a girl, just an entry.
Blood vessels burst like winter pipes at the memory.
I turn frigid, shutter his house, leave no graves,
leave no one to witness — I know what they’d say:
You are a fool for walking inside in the first place.

Mold coats my shower, I bleach the soles of my shoes;
rust in my locks, his ten years of rot leaching through.
Curse his excuses, sleep with phantom regret,
spit that apology into his gutter again.