Ode to a Black Eye- Christine Ray

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I can’t remember now

If it was your left eye or your right

Just how puffy it was

Almost swollen shut

Black and purple

Against your pale skin

The white of your eye

Hemorrhaged

From the force of the blow

 

I don’t remember

If we asked what

Had happened

Or if we just knew

I do remember

Being in Mrs. Merten’s

English class

People whispering

Into each other’s ears

Wondering what you had done

To deserve this black eye

Had you pushed John-John

To the limit?

Flirted with another guy?

Had you been mouthy?

They wondered

A bitch?

 

You could be mouthy

You could be a bitch

In the way that only a teenage

Girl can be

I hit you once myself

At a middle school dance

After you said something

Cruel and hurtful to me

Pushing a button

That only an old friend

A good friend

Knows exists

You laughed at me then

I remember wishing I had

Slapped you harder

 

I watched the swelling

Gradually recede

The colors fade to yellow

And green

Unsettled day after day

Sitting in the back of the room

That black eye

Has haunted me for years

My silence has haunted

Me for years

I should have told you

That no woman

Ever deserves that

I should have told you

To dump his sorry ass

That he didn’t deserve you

But I didn’t

 

It wasn’t until

I left our small

Blue collar, provincial

Massachusetts hometown

And went to college

That I learned to call

This exactly what this was

Domestic Violence


Christine Ray writes for Brave and Reckless and is a member of Sudden Denouement.  She is also curator at Blood Into Ink and barista at Go Dog Go Cafe.  She is an aspiring badass

 

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