i saw a portrait of you

painted when you were young and in europe

when i was little and in my grandparents' basement

it was black ink on grey paper

and it terrified me

something about your eyes behind your glasses behind the glass in the frame

made me run from it, whenever the lights were out

they looked so full of hate

there was something metallic about them

and i'd try to sleep with covers over my head

sweating and struggling to breathe

in light blue pajamas with red stripes

that made them look like a baseball jersey

fists and feet and teeth clenched

Moi, j'avais jamais rien dit. Rien

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