Gasping for Air by Perla Limon

My shadow, my dearest shadow,

Burned a deep black with God’s gaze,

His eyes full of love–


The eyes that once held love

Are now filled with fury.

A righteous fire in those orbs,

only to be put out by my death.


I have no right to stand against him,

I am but a half-formed

Vessel at the potter’s wheel.

My father’s hands around me were cold and calculating,

I couldn’t help but to flinch away.

My love caught me before I could fall from the table,

Hands searing hot and a heart I could feel,

His chest took me in like no other.

He saved me, he lent me his warmth, 

The beating of his heart.

Whatever he may wish upon me,

I would do without hesitation.

For him, I would tear out my own heart 

If he asked it of me.

I can’t breathe.


His steady hands around my neck were once a comfort, 

A reassuring constant,

But these last few days, they shook against me.

The tremors unlike any I have felt before

Ache to tear me apart.

God, I can’t breathe–

The hands that once held me up,

They’ve changed. 

I pressed kisses to his hands, to his face, 

But the heat from his cracked palms is unbearable.

It’s so hot, the air is thick.

I can’t breathe.

His hands inch closer, but I cannot move,

He hasn’t allowed me that freedom.

I cannot bring myself to ask.


Our marital sheets lay crisp and clean,

The impending funeral is sure to be short,

I wonder if he will look upon my closed eyes

As I lay there, the unglazed pot, shattered.

Will he clean up the shards, 

Or will he kick them under the rug,

Another failed creation upon his crafting table.

Porcelain crumbs caught in the grooves of the wood floor


My fingers smooth over the white fabric,

Tears roll down my chest gently,

Like his hand at night.

Cupping my cheek, drawing circles on my chest,

His calloused fingers are tracing my curves, 

I melt into him. This is right.

His breath is ragged, and–

His fingers return to my neck, 

I wonder if he intends to mark me.

The guiding hands disappear, ghostly shadows in the dark,

My eyes are shut so tightly I can see stars,

I don’t want to see him.

My heaving breaths hurt my chest,

I clutch the sheets underneath me,

My arms are shaking.

I can feel the forgiving silk wrinkling in my palms, 


I can’t breathe.

God, I can’t breathe!