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Restraining Order

I am watching the freckles
on the back of my fingers
multiply and divide like
lovers under the lens.  The
speaker at my podium
says:  He's my pimp.  Tore
a branch from a tree.   Beat
me.  The branch broke.
I am lifting the law books
down, a  browning obsolete
boulder older than I am,
the weight of a witness
of losses. The letters of the
law chew on my fingernails,
and now she is saying:
Choked me  . . .  can't
remember the rest.
I am skin closed in
this chair in this black cloth
swallowing more water these days
staying tempered, staying cool,
a surgeon dusting her hands
for powder burns, and suddenly
I look at her, wide-eyed, broken: 
He shouted he'd
kill me.  I don't know if he will.
I am blotting the battered  bench
with a clawed Kleenex, aligning my
pencils just so.  She says justice.  She says
justice.  She says:  He dragged me by my hair. 
My head broke the mirror.
Do you need to see the pictures?

“Restraining Order,” was published by The Colorado Lawyer, Fall 2008, placing first in the Colorado Bar Association poetry contest.

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