i am learning to swallow this burning
you place on my tongue
in polite, silent gulps,
never once licking my lips to taste the aftersting
because it is improper etiquette.
i let the last drops trace faint lines into my skin
as they sear toward my throat
and by biting my lip most alluringly
i am able to force back the scream
i have been waiting for years to fling at you
with the force of poisoned arrows.
i flutter my lashes sweetly. no one guesses
that the dams of my blood vessels are straining
with the need to take aim,
to shoot you with these guilt bullets
you left lodged in my ribcage.
and if i keel over in the kickback, thrown off kilter
by the weight of your words in my twisting stomach,
i hope the end is slow enough to grant me the chance
to loose every shout you choked off,
every cry you cut short without using scissors–
forsaking dignity at long last i’d hope to give in
to my fondest wish: to open my mouth, to scream so that
my body shakes with the effort–
to stand with open eyes and mouth and scream
until i collapse, unable to think or breathe,
quiet at last.