Domestic violence is never an easy topic to address in any setting, let alone with poetry. And yet, where else should one seek to draw attention to the ugliness of the issue but through the beauty and precision of poetry? May these simple, unadorned words, reach into all of us and may we, together, be each others’ rescuers.
Let it be quick
The car screeches into the driveway, askew, radio blaring
and your hidden fears become visceral terror for what’s coming.
For hours now, neck craned, head cocked with ear against the door
your sweaty palms flat against the wall, you listen. Listen.
You flatten the wrinkles in your dress hoping against hope he sees;
he sees you, not the face of his discontent, not the end game
of nights spent boasting of adventures never taken,
trysts only dreamed of in whiskey stupors,
of the feigned and faint glory days in High School hallway peacock parades.
“He doesn’t mean what he says”, you say.
“He’s just having a hard time right now”, you say.
“Oh, I just fell”, you say.
You agonize within, thinking tonight, just maybe, tonight…
he’ll see the girl who caused him to leave his hometown,
for you. Only you. Always you. That’s what he said at least.
You’ve parted your hair the way he likes
and even donned the Junior High barrette he insists is still sexy.
But as the door crashes open what little courage you’d mustered
scurries away like the mice living in your pantry.
And as the first fist comes, you pray:
“let it be quick.”