At the Verdict

by: Ashley Michelle


I spit out the peel
when I heard the jury fill the room
my mouth puckered from the tart stab
of lemons against my tongue, bitter tidings
the foreshadow of two words:
“not guilty.”
not guilty, they had said, about you
but did they know
you weren’t innocent, either?
at the verdict, my dry mouth turned
to sahara sand
wishing there’d been more marks,
maybe a body or two…
or perhaps that you’d broken every bone in my body
maybe left me with visible scars,
something tangible
my life arranged in evidence bags
on the prosecutor’s table.
the courtroom adjourns
and I stay stuck on the wooden benches
writing your name on
the soft palate of my mouth.