“Zoetrope” by Mark Ward

A change in the quality of light,
an eyebrow twitch, my father’s
backlit body haloed in the door
frame reflecting the impending –
this is what getting caught means;
being unable to move, wishing
the world away from this, terror
filling hollow limbs, shared spit
absolved by emptiness, knowing
that this is the end of the world.

Mother, half-glimpsing what is
already known in bitten finger
nails, filters us out from her
hallway hideaway. A glance is
all it takes to rewrite history.
Thoughts teem and sway like
a spun zoetrope, father flinching
at the sobering sight of us naked,
shutting out mother’s grateful face,
a door slamming into its frame.

Father, too furious to find the light,
lunged at me, lit only by momentum,
moonlight; a shaft of night we moved
in and out of the room which spun
around the beam. An active turning
he was never meant to see. His fists
flurry across my body. Your scream
tries to stop it. A crack. Stomach sick.
I distract him from your escape
by making my life a series of stills.

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