My Dearly Departed

By Mariya Volkova

TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual Assault 

The man with a rotting face lies on the edge of the bed
At night he comes to visit
whispering fears and wants and worries
holding me tight
cradling my face with his blackened hands
while I lay there

There’s something familiar about his scent
The way he so delicately
almost lovingly
caresses my tear stained cheeks
with his thumbs
smearing them with discolored flesh
While telling me to be strong
for him
and for me

The revulsion I feel
The revulsion I fear
So familiar in feeling
Two inky hands wrap around my throat
constricting me
While the nausea washes through my viscera
drowning me
Bloody animals claw through my mind
tearing away a defensive memory

Back to a night so long ago
Cradled by this man in the dark
We suddenly seemed so far away
and the quiet shadows felt like a warm embrace
comforting me

While his touch,
his stench,
the flesh that hangs so loosely from his skull,
once revolting,
welcomed me in,
And as he fed upon my soul
my thoughts
my love to give
I felt at peace
of sound mind and body
These sheets a soft coffin
and this bed my catacomb
My tears my legacy
and the soft cries that echo across the room
my elegy

Mariya Volkova is a poet and plant parent who is studying biology, history, and Spanish. She believes poetry is a means of expressing all parts of life.