By E. R. Skulmoski
You fabricate me into a fable
of what a woman should be, factory
made with an exuberant facade,
exulting our surroundings with
a beige tone of voice, not too loud,
of course, just enough to fade
into the back row of grey chairs.
When your lover held your cat by his velvet neck, beside the milky white stove & joked
about burning him alive like back in Salem—a blanket of hands reached out,
to cover your pretty mouth. It's just a cat! they said. He is your husband! How can you
be sad about that? So you sat back down with the cracked screen in your hands
& you pleaded with the gods. But we've been married since February & when he gets
angry, he drives a little too quickly. But the gods just laughed & pressed their hands
further, crushing your jaw. You’re being too sensitive. Everyone gets a little angry
sometimes. He is your husband & you are the one who needs repenting.
Then I tried to reach into the pool, to fish you out, but helplessly watched your helpless
self place your hands on the altar—to be cuffed as an offering to god.
A Gentle Answer
A gentle answer turns away wrath
like the low hum of a ceiling fan.
The voice is turned down, quieter than a fan.
It softly buzzes like static in the evening,
fanned out under the evening stars.
Gloved in yellow, she works behind the kitchen stove,
fanning herself in the heat—thankful for her stove.
O how lovely it is for her to smile for her lover.
She nods and bends so he’ll love her.
But harsh words like I have a voice of my own apart from him,
it’s my God-given voice apart from him
—deserves a fucking brick through her windshield.
The brick of God’s word that is,
for a gentle answer turns away wrath.