He gave her his name
As much a gift as syphilis
A tattoo that nobody wants
Blood beading around pools of black ink.
She lost her sense of humour
He’s hidden it away between folded towels
In the airing cupboard.
He always apologised
When she snorted
As if laughter on the lips of a young woman
Was a bad smell at the dinner table.
In amongst the pots and pans
She’d left her dignity somewhere
Because now she acted out the scenes
‘Put it in there, then in there, then in there’
The ones that she came to recognise
After work on his computer screen.
She missed her allowance for two months
When they bought a new bed
That they’d spent three Sundays
Admiring in the Pine Warehouse
Searching for a conversation.
But when he said ‘this is where
We will make our family.’
Bile rose in her throat and stole her tongue
She spent three hours boiling the sheets
Hoping that she too could stay
Clean clean clean.