Hildr Fragments, written by Dani L Smith, is a collection of poems covering relationships, notably a lengthy relationship that was both co-dependent and abusive.
Smith is a British expat living in South Korea; she meets a fellow expat, an older Canadian, who proves to be problematic from the start of their relationship. The author is forced to pull herself from the relationship after years of gaslighting (“even when I caught you in a lie you somehow succeeded in making me second-guess myself and making me feel crazy”), cheating, and even physical abuse. The author covers all the heavy aspects of leaving an abusive relationship from losing your household belongings, “11 drunken, psychotic messages within one hour,” and the time that she will never get back.
The word “Hildr” means “battle” in Old Norse, and we see the author battle with the desire to stay in an abusive relationship, her attempts to break from her abuser’s hold over her, her recovering from a miscarriage, and ultimately freeing herself from abuse and looking onward to the future.
Hildr Fragments by Dani L Smith. Independently published, October 2020.
Reviewer bio: Elizabeth Basok is a lecturer at The Ohio State University. Her Instagram is @lizbasok.