When it was over—but beforehe’d been chased out and rendered meaningless,back when he would still peekhis face through windowsor arrive, unwelcome, everywhere;the days when hewas still compelledto send cruel lettersand describe for me in detailthe ways he intended to burn my bodyor strip it of its skin; before the police rejectedthe restraining order; before the last panic attack;before the last suicide attempt,but after the collapseon the street in broad daylightin a remote city—I replaced the ringson my fingers with lead and steel: thicker,sharper, infinitely heavier metalsto reinforce each precious bone,and I practicedswinging in the hot darkof my empty apartment,practiced on walls and doorsand lovers, practiced what it would beto have his hands on me again,or again, or again, swing and lefthook and uppercut and jab, I practicedas though vigilance might be a thing at whichI could become expert, like preydelusional enough to believe in a chance of escape.
 Excerpts from evidentiary documentation filed in QC SVB Police Report, Case No. 779, Sep. 2012: “immolate,” “witches are for burning,” “I know where you live,” “shank,” “scalp/scalper/scalpel,” “better at being eaten,” “I’ll fucking bury you.”
 Finding by QC SVB Bureau Chief J. Flanders, DA, Case No. 779, Oct. 2012: “There is simply not enough evidence of threat to substantiate a restraining order.”