13: Aug 2016 #15 - Your Nightly Work

Authored by Isabelle Wedin

Your Nightly Work

by Isabelle Wedin

Last night I saw you again.
The door that always moans
instead eased open without complaint.
You carried your tools into my bedroom,
and set them down beside my bed.

You reached toward me
grabbed me by the face,
and yanked it to one side
so I could see your body in the faint light,
twisted and shriveled and swollen,
then shoved my face away.
My wife was there, asleep.
Your thumb in my eye,
your finger tasting like blood in my mouth,
you pulled me back toward you,
and then away again,
and again, until I lost count,
and though I wondered if you meant to kill me,
I didn't make a sound.

Then you bent over and returned with a hammer.
You rolled me, gently, onto my stomach,
and starting at my tailbone,
struck each vertebra,
pausing in between as the
crack echoed off the walls,
sometimes striking the same one again
until you were satisfied with the sound,
bone by bone to the base of my neck.

You turned me onto my back,
stooped down to your toolbox
and produced with both hands a stone block,
which you struggled to bring over my sternum,
and then dropped there.
My ribs crunched as it forced
all the air out through my mouth
with a puff.
I focused on breathing,
shallow but steady.

You bent over again and returned
with a bundle of needles,
and my focus evaporated.
Through the dizzy panic, I felt
you drive each one into every joint,
and then remove the stone.
I gasped and heaved
while you wormed the needles
through and out the other side.

You took my hand in both of yours,
gliding your fingers
over each knobby knuckle,
and crushed it.
You studied my face and my breasts,
then my hips, broad and fragile,
and proceeded to pummel them with your fists,
until, placated or exhausted,
you sat on the floor against the wall
and stayed there.

Before you left, you took your tools,
and brought your sunken face to mine.
I looked into your lifeless black sockets,
your breath like pus sticking on my tongue.
You said in my father's voice,
"Goodnight, William."