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The night breathes,
looming at my bed’s foot
silhouetted by the aquarium light.
Unease tinged with fear
I fall into blackness
broken by sudden harsh light
glaring off of white porcelain.
A belted pad in Mother’s open hand.
I scrutinize the red smear
on my pale, thin thigh;
my feet dangling above the cold floor.
My sister perched on bathtub’s edge.
Her braided hair, two shades darker
than the goldenrod Crayola
in my pack of 64.
Her face a study of rage and hatred.
with no discernable words.
I quietly slip, once more,
back into that black void