keeping someone a secret makes them inevitable.
you will do anything to avoid--
in the act of being forced
underwater in the neighbors’ pond,
her whispered cries of escape muffled by
her own hand over her mouth.
you would avoid it
but the dead have you in their pocket.
you did not know that the tremor of force provides such a force
that your head is vibrating with
someone laughing or coughing
this land of ghosts and amulets where
the dead keep count.
you want to believe that the clock is meaningful,
but still, you have nothing to say to the night layered on night,
the blood spattered towel,
and where he rammed your head twice into the windshield of his car.
it doesn’t matter who raises their hand to strike the other,
you know some things are only true
when they are spoken aloud.
JILL MCELDOWNEY is the author of the chapbook "Kisses Over Babylon" (dancing girl press 2016). Her work can also be found in journals such as Vinyl, Corium, Fugue and others.