Daisies and Bruises — Jade Castillo

* Content warning: this piece contains representations of sexual assault *


She threw whispered promises

to dirty dishes,

pouring wine down the drain,

glass reflecting back stricken skin blotted with

black and blue,

the inside of a geode. Suitcase

left in the hallway closet,

her husband

hunched over in his chair at

the dinner table,

day old flowers wilt

into his scotch, petals

bob at the top.



Edging along the hall,

indentations creep up the wall

from his touch like looped vines

scaling up

the outside of the house.

Grabbing her son who dreamt under rocketship sheets,

the smell of piss and beer was

washed out from the night before.

Holding in her breath

telling her son to go back to sleep

as he hung over her shoulder,

slumped, a position she knew too well.



Rusted hinges shrill through the hallway,

too loud for an alcoholic to avoid.  

He lunges at the door,

wrapping his hands around

her neck. Losing grip

of her son, he

slips to the ground

looking up as she struggles

to look down

to mouth hide.


Pants strewn at the doorway:

she was thrown

onto their bed.

His brute frame stacked

on top of hers,

belt placed beside her,

a warning.

Yelping as he maneuvers inside her,

palm of her hands pushed flat

on hardwood

needing to hold something,

a nimble hand reaches out

from under the bed.

She squeezes,

clammy to the touch,

absentmindedly transferring her pain

into her son’s hand.

Neither complained,

neither knew how

they both took it.