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Ernest Slyman poetry, The Battered Wife

The Battered Wife
The first time you crushed my skull I was happy, but that was a thousand years ago. I have been tossed from windows and set aflame as I slept in bed; I have been shot in the head, gagged and dropped from a train. I have been poisoned and left in the dark beside a road. I have given birth to a thousand children, and each one I loved. You were tall in France, and short in Spain, and often handsome and occasionally bald and fat -- with blue eyes in Austria and brown eyes in Italy. You drank vodka from a hat and played the violin. You were Jack in England, Juan in Peru, and Tom in Hungary. (What was that tune you were always whistling?) During the Ch'in dynasty you bloodied my face and broke my arm. You cursed at me everyday for centuries. I have wept in many centuries. You have scorned me too long. Never have I hidden from you. Always I met you at the station, greeted you with a kiss. You placed flowers on my grave -- not once have you wept. I lay still in my favorite dress. You cursed at me everyday for centuries. I have died in many centuries. I shall come again and wait for you at the station and greet you with a kiss.
©Ernest Slyman, 2000

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