The screaming enters my dreams

Screaming and talking
at me,
he tries to get his opinion across.
I try not to listen
too much,
I’ll get that tingling feeling again,
the feeling I know
that warns me when I’m afraid or
about to cry.
But I end up listening
and crying
and yelling back,
through sharp, uneven intakes of breath.
I don’t know if he understands
what I’m saying,
what I mean.
But still, I try,
yelling over his screaming,
even though I despise him for screaming
and always pride myself on being non-violent,
here I yell
at him,
yearning for him to hear me.

His hatred spews out like
a filthy cloud of dust does
when you wipe a rag across a desk or table
that’s been sitting, untouched, for a long time.
His hatred, transformed into words, attacks
me and rushes through my heart,
confusing me, upsetting me, angering me—
I don’t know which way to feel,
so I feel all three.

Closed to my yelling and attempts to express
how I feel,
he continues to scream his opinions, how he feels.
What about me?
Even though I’m not as experienced at expressing myself—
my yelling doesn’t reach him,
his screams drown out my own—
he should listen to
me, care about me.
But the screaming goes on,
it goes on when I open the door and
leave the house,
it goes on when I shut the car door
and we drive away,
it goes on when I lay down to sleep,
his words echoing louder
than the music from my iPod,
it goes on in my dreams.

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