in the blood sport of
dog fighting the
dogs are trained through
starvation, abuse, isolation, and drugging. they say
this was how they domesticated the first wolves. I think
about Christmas evening how
his hand felt on my inner thigh and the way
eggnog can sometimes taste like poison,
someone else’s pulse can feel like a leash.
there were two other girls between me and the next
Labor Day weekend when
he asked me if I still
loved him and I said yes because I have never learned
how to say anything else to men. I know they kill the weaker ones,
by strangulation, drowning, hanging, electrocution, gunshots,
or sometimes they just use them as bait animals
to train the bigger dogs.
I remember reading magazines in his parlor and breathing
in the smell of his cologne and wondering
if I wore too much makeup because
he called me a slut on my next birthday and my mouth was
empty. I heard they tape
over the jaws of any dog they don’t want
to bite back, that they have a method for which one they want
to die first.
nobody knows where
it really started. religion or sport or
the time when all countries
were third world,
maybe. all I know is I have never known
if my breasts were the right size or how
to properly chew through a muzzle.
How to Break Up With God:
1. Don’t tell him right away. Pull back from him slowly. Stop making him dinner, stop kissing him when he gets home from work. Wait for him to notice. When he doesn’t, remind yourself that this terrible, never-ending wait to be noticed by God is why you must end things.
2. Ignore the dollar bill. Ignore the penny. Ignore the Pledge of Allegiance. Ignore everything that says you must trust in this man even though he has given you no proof that he is trustworthy. Ignore your friends and parents. Ignore the people who call you a whore for your sins. Circle the beads of your new courage into a rosary and wear it around your neck.
3. Find a private place to talk. Avoid weddings, schools, or the office. Avoid doing it over webcam, text, phone. Avoid churches. Avoid doing it on a Sunday. He is always so busy on Sundays. Think about all the places you have tried to talk to him before: lying in bed in the dark, kneeling on the bathroom floor, crying at the kitchen table. Decide on somewhere empty. This way it won’t feel so different when he leaves.
4. Tell him. Do not be surprised if he doesn’t hear you the first time. God has always had selective hearing.
5. Don’t talk about Mary. Don’t ask him if she panicked when he left her with his child and ran away to be great on his own. Don’t ask him why he made man in his image and made woman as the afterthought. Don’t ask if Eve liked the apple and if God just hated that she was happy. Don’t ask him if he paints the picket signs himself or if he just gives other people the OK. Don’t ask him if he hates the Jews, the Blacks, the gays, the Muslims, the poor people, the women, or you. Don’t ask him the difference between “I want to help” and “I want to fix.” Don’t ask him why he makes everyone capitalize the “H.” It’s too late for this now. You had your chance. Men like God never change.
6. Cry. Yell. Blame him for everything. Tell him he’s just like your father, in a way that will make lightning boil in his palms, like Zeus from Ancient Greece, like Huracan from pre-Christian Middle America. Notice the way all gods have the same size fist.
7. He will tell you all sinners pay, eventually. Tell him you thought about calling the domestic violence hotline, eventually. Don’t tell him the only reason you never did was because you doubted anyone would believe you. Do not look down at your broken fingernails and your bruised knees. Do not think about all of the knees that have touched down before him. Do not think of all the people he has grabbed by the back of the neck. Do not think about how small he has told you you are. Tell him “sin” comes from the Greek word “to miss the mark,” and he has been shooting arrows over targets all his life.
8. He will damn you, and stay with you until nighttime with his lower lip out. When he realizes you’re serious he will slip away in the dark, leaving all his things behind but never returning (he can get nothing from you now). Lie in bed when you realize he’s gone and feel exposed to the whole world. Wonder why you feel so empty even though you’ve finally won. Notice you are not afraid anymore. Try to fall asleep, but avoid dreaming. Avoid wondering why he was so easy to push away even when he promised his love was unconditional. Don’t think about what your parents will say.
9. Look up at the universe the next time you are alone. Look up and don’t be hopeful. The stars will throb down at you. Don’t think about how they look like the pulse in God’s neck. Don’t think about him being somewhere behind them, drinking a beer and watching sitcoms to sooth his irritation. They are just stars. Everything is just stars.
10. When you feel lonely enough, go back inside. Find a private place. Avoid weddings, schools, the office, and churches. Read a new book. Drink beer and watch sitcoms. Break your rosary and don’t fix it. Research and re-research the word “virtuous” and find yourself in the definition without God’s help. Avoid Sundays.