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A Sentence Far Worse Than A Slap In The Face

by Amy Wustrin

Mother, I know
You see the distance in my eyes
You can tell
Will never be the same
And you've wracked you brain
With no results
To find the most convenient way
To make it all better

But it wasn't the way your husband
Who is not even a fraction
Of the man my father is
Rasied his voice at me that night

No, it wasn't the way he started screaming
In front of his own two daughters
For them to learn and absorb
Telling me I'm worthless
Trying to make me be seen, not heard

It wasnt the way he got in my face
Spitting as he spewed vile drunkeness senslessness
Like I have no rights to speak in my own home

It wasnt even the way my head spun
When he crossed that line
I swore I'd never let any man cross
And slapped me right in my face
For knowing something he didn't

It wasn't him at all
That put this glaze over my eyes
And wrung the life out of me like a damp cloth

It was you
You spineless, selfish woman

I called the cops on that son-of-a-bitch
I could have had him taken away right then
I could be free to heal, finally
From a lifetime of his drunken abuse

But my poor littlest sister
She cried so hard
She could barely breathe when the patrol car pulled up
I felt bad
And then I thought of you
And what would become of you and those two little girls
With you going to school and not working
And how they would grow up to be sad like I am
Without their father around
Maybe they would hate *me*
For having him arrested
And you might have to quit school
And possibly hate me too
So I didnt go through with it
I waited for you to come home

I must be the real asshole here
Giving in and opting for my mother's guidance
Foolishly expecting something different from her
Some kind of action, or decisiveness
Because you were pretty concerned about yourself, too
You didnt need me to think about you

You need this man, I suppose
And that is your own fault
A paycheck while you realize
Your own academic ambitions
No matter the cost to eveyone else

No matter if his own girls
Grow up believing his lies
Accepting his viscious animosity and jealousness
Manifested in rage and hate
And eventually marry men just like him

No matter if his presence
Is salt and vinegar on my wounds
And I lose the last shred of respect I had for you
My own mother
Now reduced to simply being
The woman who cursed me with this life

Everyday I wake
And this man is walking around this house
Still the King of the fucking castle
And I want to die

But not becuase of him
Because of you

His actions hurt me
Your inaction destoryed me

When the man who hit your oldest daughter
Said "Make a choice, it's me or her"
All you could say
Was "You can't make me do that"

And that assertion
Is your idea of a remedy

You could have just hit me yourself
It would have accomplished the same thing.


Posted on 06/06/2005
Copyright © 2021 Amy Wustrin

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Genevieve Sturrock on 02/05/07 at 02:37 PM

I think the poem is great...just as it is...because it conveys all the confusion, the hurt, the rage, the self-hatred, and the fearful pleading that live inside someone who is emotionally abused...it took me years to crawl out of my own tangled life and I'm here to tell you, there is hope. You nailed the worst of the abuse with these lines: "His actions hurt me Your inaction destroyed me" Nobody should ever have to look for protection from someone who is too weak and self-serving to give it. You are not alone and it does get better and you are deserving of everything good. If you haven't already, get help!

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