I’ve debated with myself a while about whether to post this poem or not. I don’t write much poetry, because I often feel I don’t understand all the rules of meter, etc. I could never remember the difference between blank verse and free verse when I was in school. I just don’t feel as comfortable working with poetry as I do with prose.
I suppose, though, that writing isn’t about being comfortable. Maybe writing about what makes us uncomfortable really brings out what is important. I’m not sure.
I wrote this poem over two years ago. That woman’s face still haunts me. I wonder about her and others like her. I wonder what her day was like, her yesterday and tomorrow. I wonder if there was something I could have done….


In line at the supermarket
One lane over,
She leans with her elbow on the cart, knuckles on her hip.
She stands there nonchalant,
with a shattered face.

She is old and tiny.
Straggles of gray hair
Held back from her face with a pink ribbon.
Of course, she’s wearing long sleeves and jeans,
Even in the heart of summer.

Her eyes bug out,
but only because her cheekbones are crushed.
A nose without a bridge,
just a little, fleshy bump in the middle of her face.
A face blunted, edgeless,
leveled by cudgel fists.

Ah, yes. He’s there.
The big, he-man.
He’s old too, but tall and broad-shouldered.
Pink scalp shines through the gray stubble of his crew cut.
His hands, those hands, grip the
Shopping cart handle.

Oh, I hope they hurt him.
In winter. During rainstorms.
All the time.
I hope the pain is throbbing, deep-aching,
fire needles in the joints.
A small, daily payment
For the beatings.

When he turns his head to speak to her
I see her anxious expression as
She looks up at him,
like a child, wary, frightened…
A slight rocking back on her heels, not a full step,
but enough to convince me,
her face was no accident.

Shaking, enraged, outraged, I suppress the urge
To rocket canned goods at his head or just
Take him to the floor with a running tackle and
Bash his head into the gray-spotted linoleum in
Front of the magazine racks.
I want to hurt him. I really do.
Imagine what she must want.

And yet, I do nothing,
nothing, nothing,

If you or someone you know is being abused, there is help. There is hope.

Providence House
To find out more information, to donate, to volunteer, or to get help, please contact Providence House at (318) 221-7887 or (888) 411-1333.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Crash « Claiming Creativity

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