i was the third

i knew enough to know abuse was someone pounding their fists into someone else

and i knew enough to know the domestic violence shelter

was full of real people

they were filled with children i had played video games with while my mother

worked downstairs helping their mothers survive

 

what i did not know was that i was not only worth

physical kindness and decency

but that the way someone treated me was important too

that even though my father was good and kind and i had a shining example

and i knew

never to let someone hit me

the message never sunk in that i deserved even more

than just no violence

 

so that afterward, when my ex and i were buttoning our jeans

and he told me he had already screwed two women that same day

instead of closing the door on him forever

i told myself he had ended with the best

and that must mean

he loved me most

and you know, he never hit me

Photo Credit: gui.tavares Flickr via Compfight cc

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