by Ayshia StephensonI don’t want him to tear my clothing off anymore. I don’t want him to crush my serenity into this tiny spit of a paper ball, pit stuck in my throat, like it sits in a child who can not say: please get it out. Branded knees need a buffer from a pebbled surface. Can I stop this? My voice echoes throughout the room and seems to become louder, as the restraining order blows around knowing it came to watch dust grow on useless pews. My eyes slide shut and the bible in my hand haunts me – takes up face of the man who I never thought would stand at the church door, to give out pamphlets on my secrets. The sunlight paints as it passes through windowed blues and reds and purples to land against hairs old and newborn, still upper back of my neck. Nobody’s all bad. So was it my imagination? For maybe my travel has maddened my memories to make things look messy. I’m two tolls, two states, and too much fresh air away from him – but still gasping for the repaired mobility of my movement. Here to communicate lines cut off from a mess of leaky circulation. Now where from when wine went unconsumed, it’s a pity I still want to taste it. When misery splatters, you can never clean it up. Crevices of grapes nurtured to death smell up my shack. It’s a brown paper bag turned inside out.