I did not exist before you brought me
to life, whispering honeyed litanies
until I was yours. You took me
to Prague, drank lattes in Slavia,
climbed Petrin Hill, made me laugh
at the name of the Old-New Synagogue.
After our first fight on Národní Street
outside the Star Beads jewellery store,
I cried until you clasped a chain
around my neck and we kissed. You swore
you’d never hurt me again, asked me
to move into your place in the suburbs.
You gave me your credit card,
a mobile phone, nice new friends.
Some nights, you’d check my texts
before I went to bed, ask who I’d seen
that day and go quiet when I told you,
lumber to your workshop in the attic.
But I was strong, I didn’t need
to tell you every time I left the house,
and I grew to be the best con artist
when the need arose, until you found
a scrap of paper and dialled the digits,
hung up when a man’s voice answered.
You chased me upstairs, shrieking
I was muck—spelled out all the things
you’d ever done for me before you broke
the lock, grabbed me by the neck,
plucked the name from out of my mouth
and turned me back to dust.