Just like This with Cash Money

Rose Hunter

The buzz on the door, the pop of vacuum
unsealing, hats, gloves, coats, peeling
the white water rushing 
of steaming milk, the ruff-scruff on caramel toothbrush 
bristles of doormat, the background trip hop 
with leaf-rustling rummage
static of newspapers
and fragments of what I called
“normal person conversation;” look

looky-loo looking in windows you see the shiniest 
of things, or looking at people as windows (open)
the flushed cheeks of the freshly arrived
the glance up and smile of the person opposite
a moment to imagine where she didn’t

go at night, and what she hadn’t seen of men 
(I imagined)
I was in a corner, notebook open

pen running over pages and pages to say
what I’d seen, what I’d heard, what I thought, what
he’d said, what I wished I’d said, what I didn’t know 

I wished I could talk to another person about. Ink 
smudges on side of little finger and palm
periwinkle Rorschachian and ultramarine, as I
into the spiral burning, pages 

turning (was not an idea but an instinct)
how people went from one event to the next
with nothing in between? 
If only I were so seamless, without this
necessity to record

“radioactive,” I called these journals
bundled them in thick plastic bags 
with cummerbunds of masking tape
like drug bricks; stashed them

in case some random snooper 
would be so interested!
In discovering what a terrible person I was? 
Not just what I did 
but what I had to tell 
myself, to crawl back into a livable headspace
crawlspace; pages 

and pages of reassurance, from me to me
about “how we” (me and I)
(sometimes I was on my side)
(the key element in any abusive relationship 
is unpredictability) “would work it out,” and how 

I wrote about “fitting that into my head”
as though the latest happenings were 
creatures, with tentacles out for a strangling, spikes out 
for a stabbing

seven-toed, dragon-tongued and slippery 
as flippers, to grasp them
lift-shove them onto that 
head-shelf (the grappling, broomsticking skirmish
the helicoptering hand) 

next to the other ones; slotted, catalogued
locked. Hands dusted, a clap to punctuate, and then: