A Woman Fallen, a Woman Gotten Back Up
A kiss of the fist, then forgiveness,
a fine pain.
Her name is always written on them,
a warning for her,
a reminder for him, more so than a bad day,
less so than whiskey.
Tied up in the bed because he’s in the mood for it,
a natural pain,
a trained pleasure. What does it mean when
the caress of a hand burns, when it feels like
He tells her he’s sorry. He says he loves her.
A repetitive pain.
His words speak into one ear. Her wounds speak into another.
She counts her cuts, her marks. One day she must choose a door.
He drowns himself in drink, sends her out for more.
She meets a kind stranger at the market. She finds safety in
anonymity. She’s told to arm herself. She’s told to never go for it
It’s afternoon and she makes dinner, contemplates blade to skin,
a familiar pain.
She thinks about other lives, other moons. He stumbles in from work
or the bar. She closes her eyes, contemplates blade to skin.
into the kitchen, stumbles over to press a mouth of gin to her neck.
She’s familiar with the burn. She’s familiar with the going down.
She grips the handle of the knife. She contemplates making dinner
or slitting his throat.
If not tonight, then someday.
One day she must choose a door.
By Elijah Noble El
Elijah Noble El is a 21 year old actor and writer from Livonia, Michigan. The author of The Age of Recovery (2015), a debut full length poetry book. He is the co-founder of Girls Don’t Cry, the film division of the literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters, a magazine aimed at empowering women who have experienced various forms of abuse and degradation. In 2013 his short story, “Oblivion,” received the Award of Excellence in Literature from the Michigan PTSA Reflections. He co-wrote the play Off with Her Head (2013) which won the 2014 Lansing State Journal Thespie Awards “Special Award.” He also wrote the short film, Dog-Faced Honey (2016), which was nominated for Best Writing from the Top Indie Film Awards. His work has been featured in Straylight Magazine, Hooligan Magazine, Persephone’s Daughters, Exist Magazine, Soul Anatomy, The Odyssey, Eastern Michigan University’s Inkstains Anthology, and in Stevenson Spectrum.