Her ribs hurt.
He had experienced one of his mood swings, and let it out on her.
She couldn’t feel her right side.
Her skin stung, and shone with patches of purple and blue.

She lifted her finger, to wipe her nose
A streak of red stained it.
Breaking into silent tears, she whispered to God
“Please help me help him.”

She believed he would change.
He promised her, she said to herself.
Of course she believed him.
She loved him, with everything she had.

He wasn’t showering her with flowers anymore.
The tokens of affection had vanished.
The occasional quiet nights were her sanctuary.
For they only grew louder with each passing day.

Of course he feels sorry, she thought.
What man wouldn’t?
So she stayed with him, despite.
Because the love stood its ground.

She thought of the time his hands were around her neck
She apologized repeatedly, gasping for breath.
She had said something hurtful
Of course it was her fault.

The first time his strong palm met her velvety cheek
Pain burned through her entire face
Her eyes wet, streaming hot tears
She just exhaled with force.

He apologized, said he wouldn’t repeat it.
But that was only the beginning.
It didn’t matter whether it was verbal or physical,
Public or private.

She took every beating, quietly.
Only blaming herself.
She couldn’t leave him. How could she?
Of course he loved her.