Code Purple: Day Twenty Four

Breathe in–
let the good find you.

Every moment
gives us a chance
to start again.
Every day
gives us a chance
to live again.

Breathe out–
let the bad release you.

This world
can not take away
your legacy.
This world
can not silence
your voice forever.

Be the eyes
through which
the world perceives you.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty Three

This dream was new.
It was the nearest I’ve come
to returning to you.

Somehow I knew
that you were here.

The hotel room
was in my name,
and so they gave me a key
at the front desk
so I could get in.

You were not there.
I did not know
that you had ever been.

I just knew.

I found many things
that I did not recognize.
Then, bags full of things
I hadn’t seen for years
that were actually mine.
They were all things
that you had taken from me,
either by force
or by coercion.

It wasn’t until
I thumbed through
a handful of papers
that I keep in my basement
locked away from memory
that I sensed
your intrusion.

I panicked.
I have to get out of this dream.

Suddenly, the city changed.
I was not close to home.

I looked out
onto streets
I have never seen before.

I had to escape unnoticed.

I put my things
back into place with your things,
and I said goodbye to them
forever.

I turned out lights,
peered desperately
down the hallway
in both directions,
then triple-checked the locks.

It was time to disappear.

The hallways stretched on
farther than I had remembered,
I panicked at the elevator.
I took the stairs.
I panicked on the streets
as I dodged every streetlight
in my path.

I walked,
but in my heart,
I was running for my life.

I got lost
in an abandoned city,
scraped meals from dumpsters
and squatted in empty buildings,
but I never truly felt safe there again.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty Two

The struggle
in my chest
follows me
into the night,
and I am left
with bolted doors
for joints
and locked windows
for skin–
the pain
of having known you
planted firmly
in my heart.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty One

Fallen ink
on loose leaves,
I am blood on orange
skylights,
the river, my tears,
dry and loaded,
crisp autumn
losses.

This world
was too fragile
to hold me
as I was.
I needed breaking–
I needed this post-noose,
tangled mess
about me.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty

Highway lines
dashed the night,
two lanes
crossed into reflectors,
taming the fire
in your throat,
dulling the threat
to a whisper.

I always longed
for our silence.
There, I was
innocent again,
free of blame
and whole again.

In my dreams,
I didn’t fight
the ravine.
You grabbed the wheel
and I let go.

I never lived
past twenty one,
and you didn’t live
to hurt again.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

Posted in Domestic Violence, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Code Purple: Day Nineteen

One knock on the door.
Two swift paces
across old wood floors.
Three sharp breaths,
drawn between
hurting ribs.
Four seconds that felt
like a lifetime
of suffering.
Five years a child,
lost to you forever
in a single knock on the door.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Eighteen

I do all of the things now
that I did before, except
I am not her,
and none of it is the same.

To me, this is sad
because she was young,
free, and open.
She could love
with selfish abandon,
and yet her heart
always followed her home.

These days
I don’t sleep much,
and there is hesitation
in every step I take.
I turn corners
and the sharpness reminds me
of things I’ve lost
and things you’ve broken.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Seventeen

I faked home
in times of need–
When you shook
the floorboards,
I played house,
I played the wife,
and I made the bed neatly
after you woke.
When I was pregnant,
your smoke burnt
my act,
I coughed up a child
as you drank
to end a cycle,
but it only grew darker
in you.
I still remember
how for every time
you hated me,
I loved our child
even more.
You are still hunting,
but I am not found,
and our child hides
forever inside me.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Sixteen

I have to write this,
don’t you understand?
I have to remove these words
and stand helpless
In the storm
as you rage
in dark hallways,
streaming skylights
on my face
so empty,
so scared,
so alone.
I have no testament
but a whimper,
a bruise,
a wish
to be understood.
This is all I have left.
Empty words
and a memory
of who I was
before you.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Fifteen

Your voice
against the long,
white echo
of these hallways.

I am a ghost here.
Vowed to silence
by gallow men
in midnight robes.

Waning from sight,
I pass through loss,
through shadow,
and into the white
and dark corridors
unnoticed.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

Posted in Domestic Violence, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment