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Breathe in breathe out. Nothing else works. Not crying, screaming, praying or punching. Not the knife. Not even the gun. Breathe in breathe out. Don’t stop. Don’t let the silent space exist. Make the stillness at the top of the in-breath short. And that other quiet place at the bottom of the out-breath no more than a flash. Just lie still. Be aware of your body. Don’t relax. Don’t sink into the softness of the bed. Breathe in breathe out. Don’t look directly at her. When you do she moves into the periphery. But if you focus on the stained spot on the ceiling you can see her. Naked and voluptuous. Long ringleted hair. The colors dance in a halo of fire: crimson, auburn, and deep burgundy. Don’t hold your breath or she’ll be on you. Night after night she comes. Her sex is violent, yet analgesic. You can’t stop the drowsiness or your vision from spotting before it darkens. Then you wake up so thirsty your head spins and your eyes fog. If your thoughts are wandering at this point, focus on the breath. Then take note of your current body sensations. Everything aches. Your thighs, your mouth, the roots of your hair. Everything feels withered and half-dead. Breatheinbreatheoutbreatheinbreatheout breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out
oh god breathe