Maybe this isn’t my story. Maybe
it’s hers, or his. Maybe a crow called it
out, loudly. Maybe a housecat clawed it
into shape. Maybe the lapdog slunk down
hiding from his shame, hoping for kind words.
Maybe the names have been changed. Maybe not.
Maybe the guilty go unnamed because
their names are hard as rocks stuffed in the mouth,
but swell like sponges, blocking the larynx,
rendering the victims mute, rendering
the victims mouthless. Maybe the victims
go unnamed because as they start to speak
the words fragment and splinter, shuddering
into pieces, shaking the mouth apart
into teeth without any bite, edge, roots;
shaking that spreads into the neck, spasming;
spasms tracing the body, neck to chest,
chest to the tightened abs tensed against blows.
Peripheral: shoulders once bruised, shoulders’
shivering pulses down the arms, to hands
clenched together to contain the shaking
in a virtuous cycle. A circle.
A cup of coffee. Quivering. Somewhere,
in a corner, a dog curls behind a chair, a cat
crouches immobile atop a bookshelf.
Somewhere, there is a window with a view,
surprisingly quiet. Somewhere, silence,
perhaps. And somewhere, somewhere in all that
violent trembling there might be an earthquake
of a story. But it might not be mine,
or yours. Or it might.