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I have to stop walking with him past the butcher shop.
He cannot help but stop at the first sign of the blooded aprons.

I caught him twisting them once, but they were called towels.
The blood ran down his legs in rivulets. I did not ask where
     it came from.

Breath on the window, past his reflection, the light inside
     bending towards rolls of paper.
He was mouthing words: attic, love, sex, must-have and crush.

I ask him to please stop so many times that it becomes
     a mantra.
Prayers that fall on the deaf are only meaningless sounds.

He goes on rolling his tongue, like those wrought iron
     rusty meat hooks.
He goes too far, as if he can smell the animal sex. This is
     who he is.

I am small and barely swing when he leaves me. The chains
     always hold.
He comes back with clean tools and I let him. This is who I am.