OPUS Mag

Far from timid • Caveat Lector

Pray For Rain - a poem

Pray For Rain - a poem

I tiptoed across the hardwood floor

Balancing my weight against the wall with one hand

Covering my mouth with the other

Concealing my breaths

Muffling my tears

He’s sleeping now

And I just need a sip of water

My phone

And a sip of water

On opposite ends of the house

I make it to the end of the hall and I rest

I should’ve kept moving

My back aches less when I keep moving

My legs don’t shake as much

I can’t feel my hands tremble

I relax my arm

Allowing my shoulder to gently touch the wall

Turn just enough to rest my head

I close my eyes

The tears fall quickly now

But I’ve managed to suppress my inner whimpering

I hear him stir

And I’m reminded

A sip of water

My phone

And I just need a sip of water

I shift my weight back

I stand up as straight as I can

I wince at the shock this movement sends

Down my spine into my pelvis

My phone

And a sip of water

I use the strength I have to launch myself off of the wall

Back onto my tiptoes

My left ankle burns from the pressure

I scurry as quickly as I can

Being gentle with each motion

As to not make any noise

Just when the pain becomes unbearable

I fall into the couch reaching down into my purse

I feel around with my hands

It’s not there

A sip of water

And my phone

Where is my phone?

I pull out my makeup pouch

It always gets in the way

There’s my charger

My wallet

Shit

What’s that?

I dig deeper inside, moving faster now

Pulling things out

Placing them in my lap

My legs stretched awkwardly

My heart begins to beat wildly

I just needed my phone

And a sip of water

There never was a swing on granddaddy’s wraparound porch

And I always thought it was such a shame, Granddaddy had all that space

And not a single swing for me but he was my favorite

So I would sit next to him on the back of his old Chevy truck

And he’d say pretty girl, I hope you never change

Stay small and gentle, follow God and

Remember, pray for rain

I’m on the floor

Next to the bed, I lick the dried blood from my bottom lip

I can’t get in the bed right now

But I want to stay next to him

He knows

I never mean to hurt him

I drift asleep

Moments later I’m being lifted

Someone’s carrying me

He’s carrying me

I don’t mean to but I turn my head away

From the smell of him

He notices and holds me tighter

I’m reminded of the bruises scattered across my chest

I hide my face in his neck

And he relaxes, his touch becomes gentle

I tell myself not to cry, he hates when I cry

I keep my breath steady until

I’m being lowered into warm water, a bath

The scent of lavender overwhelms my senses

I quickly readjust my weight to the left as a

Shockwave pulses through me when my right side hits the

Bottom of the tub, I hope he doesn’t notice

He dries his hands on the towel resting on the countertop

Unrolls his sleeves, adjusts his tie, and

Leaves the bathroom

Moments later the front door closes and I release

The floodgates, tears like cold raindrops falling

From my chin, instantly dissolved in the bath

I could fill this tub with the amount of tears I’ve cried

At his hands, ignoring the pain

In my back, in my legs, in my ankles, in my hips; I

Bend my knees, dig in and sink beneath the water

I hold myself there

I don’t care to breathe.

I wake up in a panic. I forgot to call in.

I jolt forward placing both hands on the edge of his garden tub

I had forgotten for a moment but I remembered now

I wince; I fall back into the water

This time I move slower, I make my way from the bathroom

To the living room

My phone is there, on the arm of the couch

I’m not thirsty anymore

I pick up my phone

25 unread messages.

10 missed calls.

How long was I out?

24 from him

10 him

1 from Granddaddy

When did he learn how to text?

Little brother must’ve taught him.

I send three messages.

I am working from home.

I’m sorry. I fell asleep.

Granddaddy, I---

Okay, I sent two messages.

I set my phone down. I wrap myself in his throw

I need to start dinner

I need to dry the water on the floor

I need to straighten my hair

He likes it straightened

I need to work

The apartment smells like warmth, like love

I hear keys at the door

If he kisses my cheek it’s been a good day

If he places his hand at the small of my back he’s sorry

If he’s quiet---just---

He steps inside, throws his blazer over the back of the couch

Kisses my cheek, goes into the kitchen

His hand never found the curve in my back, I take a deep breath

Shit, I forgot his drink

There never was a swing on granddaddy’s wraparound porch

And I always thought it was such a shame, Granddaddy had all that space

And not a single swing for me but he was my favorite

So I would sit next to him for hours in the den watching Remember, pray for rain

television

And he’d say pretty girl, I hope you never change

Stay small and gentle, follow God and

He doesn’t notice the way I tremble as he holds me now

My back turned to him

I’m staring at the bleach stain in the carpet

Right in front of the closet

I couldn’t get the blood out

I tried everything

I even called my mother

She had asked me if I would bring him by

They hadn’t seen us in awhile

I told her work was crazy for both of us

And he probably didn’t have much time

She asked if I would visit Granddaddy

And I told her I would try

The whole while I was scrubbing that spot

It’s fading now, the memories not the scars

I drift asleep as the sun begins to rise

The bed shifts and he’s on top of me

Suddenly

I don’t open my eyes

I feel the silk of my gown moving up my skin

He bites my bottom lip, it hasn’t healed yet

So I taste the blood and swallow it

I am watching now but I don’t move

Not when his kisses trail my collarbone

Not when his breathing becomes heavy

Not when his hands find their way between my legs

Not when he enters me

Not when he whispers he loves me

He’s finished, I roll over

He showers. He dresses. He leaves.

I rise and place both feet on the floor next to the bed

It’s cold

I make my way to the bathroom

Stand in the mirror, run my fingers through my hair

It’s easier to do without the curls

I plug the bath, turn on the hot water

Let the gown fall at my feet, I ignore the weakness in my ankles

As I step in, I ease myself down

I lie back, I reach over and grab the glass of water

Resting on the edge of the tub, I take a sip

I place it back. I grab my phone.

Scroll slowly through the photographs

Look over at his hair on his floors

Then at his blood from my wrists

I don’t even feel it

I hit send on Granddaddy’s text

Avert my mind to the warmth of the water

Let myself sink in

There never was a swing on granddaddy’s wraparound porch

And I always thought it was such a shame, Granddaddy had all that space

And not a single swing for me but he was my favorite

So I would sit in the grass while he built the bonfire

And he’d say pretty girl, I hope you never change

Stay small and gentle, follow God and

Remember, pray for rain

Daddy, I miss that Chevy truck and that old TV

I miss our bonfire chats. I’m different now but I’m free.

I hope I’ve made you proud. You know, before I changed

I hope you know you’re my favorite and

I never stopped praying for rain.

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