by Katie Hale

Against all odds, we keep her
locked in the dark space under the house
to try to stop the distortion of her face,
to keep us (in some way) safe. It’s a joint effort.
You bind her hands in complex knots
(it has been suggested she has the ability to pick locks),
chain one ankle to the ground.
I cover her with a blanket to muffle her sounds
of mewling pity, her moans of malnutrition.
We feed her as seldom as possible.
We stop inviting the neighbours round,
change all our privacy settings to invisible.
We cut the phone line, lock the door
and nail the floorboards over our mouths.