Friday, April 07, 2006



I'm the damsel in distress and you're the knight who drinks too much, slaps our kids on the ass or kicks the dog for the least misdeed: misplacing your slippers, chewing the fabic of your Lazy Boy couch, spilling chocolate milk in a pool under the high chair or interrupting the football games that you watch.


The paperboy is now afraid to deliver here anymore after you opened the door last Sunday night when he came to collect, half dressed with no shirt, wearing only boxers and socks, holding tightly clenched your favorite 12 gauge Mossberg, eyes glazed and your face in a snarl because I cooked your steak just a little too far past raw.


You used to tickle my ears when we fucked in the afternoon, whispering how much you loved the skin that you touched, the breasts that you cupped, the smell of my hair and the hard arch my back made when I replied to each thrust that you made from behind.


Once upon a time I bathed in your smile, thinking to myself how innocent it seemed, how like a little boy you were, constantly seeking to please, performing little tricks of the manly trade, showing off your strength, or pulling roses from behind your back and pushing them in my face, as if love was a game and I was the prize.


We all make mistakes, and this one is all mine: that I never looked too close, never examined all the evidence you presented to me, because I was blind to the signs that my fairy tale dream of you had gone awry; little things like the edge in your voice, the hard grip on my arm, the vacant, jealous clamped jaw threats you made whenever another boy passed by and looked my way.


I'm guilty of crimes against the kids and myself, for each black eye, each dislocated small limb, each bruise and each scar on my face and on theirs, and the lies that I told to cover for you, to hide from the world my horrendous mistake: letting you take over my life in exchange for a false promise of bliss that I told myself must be true.


In light of the fact that I, being of sound mind and body, have freely confessed these crimes, the worst of these having made you my metaphor, I fully accept my due punishment for same, i.e., the loss of this life, which it's true, I don't mind losing, and the loss of my children, a far crueler penalty, but one I deserve for having led them into such a bad tale.


Drink from the cup of life, my dear, for by the time you find this we will be gone, and you will remain here on earth where you belong, for hell is not found in the afterlife, darling, it's whatever is left to you before departure is near.


LKD said...

Yikes, this is good. This is the kind of poem I'd love to hear read out loud. I imagine the delivery as being rapid and quiet yet barely contained with each "whereas" cutting in loud and clear, all sharp and bladed.

A poem like this always makes me uncomfortable to read, in a good way, because it feels so real, so true to life that I feel like I'm eavesdropping and/or peeping through the windows of someone's life. I won't ask if the poem is fictional or autobiographical because....I really don't want to know. As a reader, I want to believe, despite the awfulness of the reality depicted in the poem, that that reality is real....if that makes any sense.

I don't know if Mipo's still sending poems to IBPC, but Didi, if you read this comment, I think Tara's poem here, and Jill's poem posted above are both worthy nominees.

Always a pleasure to read your work, Tara.

Tara said...

Hey thanks a lot Laurel. I'm grateful for your response to this. In fact, I'm very touched.