Not every night, or every weekend,
but now and then without warning
he twisted her arm behind her back
and beat her naked body with his belt
until her blood stained the duvet.
And afterwards, he held her still
and stroked her diminished face,
kissed the blue-black runes that stood
like Braille on her damp skin,
matched her breathing with his own
and quietened his own terror in her.
They had two children, both madness.