Dull wood was hard and unforgiving,
a coffin that smelled like burnt oranges.
Wedged in a corner of the stand, seated
before the judge, I told him every-
thing HE did, a dozen occurrences raked
across half a year. HIM from behind, above,
below, while I slept—nothing was off-limits,
burying me in tendrils of guilt and shame.
They brought HIM in, arms and legs
handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit—might
as well have been graves clothes
and zombie chains. Dead inside, I froze,
unable to move or utter another word.
They told me I was safe, that HE would
not hurt me, but HIS words and curses,
threats and promises seared in my ears long after
their initial sting skewered their mark.
I shuddered under their weight, blood
congealing in my veins, lashed by
HIS venom spewed across the room.
My lips blued and stilled, limbs steeled,
I wait for the lid to close, the jolt as the
coffin lowers, dirt filling in from above.
My voice—long silenced by courtroom adults—
who accept what HE made me endure, yet
fail to fathom my ability to testify in court.