BellaOnline Literary Review
Fish Arrival by Leslie Tribolet


The Embrace

Zhaleh Sarduy

Your hissing venom strikes at me
a sudden uncoiling of old resentments
packaged anew
searching for the perfect paralyzing word
that will silence me into obedience.

I try to dodge the stinging barbs
spitting through your clenched lips
their poison leaking over dull yellow teeth
your hot breath
a dark stew of coffee and cigarettes.

I watch the words
punch their way out
their birth a violent explosion
of history and regret.

I am hypnotized by the ugliness of your face
your twisted mouth contorts
like an old rubberband
that has lost its youth.

Your perky nose is out of place
in this wild landscape
its freckles a photo album
of happier times.

Your eyes narrow to slits
as if to better their aim
your bushy black brow
heavy with oppression
crushes me
and I want to look away

But I canīt

Your cold fingers tighten around my arm
like a hungry python
choking its prey
I feel my pulse
beat against your fist
and that becomes my protest
Stop. No. Please.

Yet no words come.
I remain silent
and I think
this must be how the mouse feels
when it succumbs to the embrace
of its predator
relief that the struggle has changed hands
and ecstasy in the arms of surrender.

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I like your potery and very well understood zhaleh

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