For the Wife Beater’s Wife

For the Wife Beater’s Wife

With blue irises her face is blossomed. Blue
Circling to yellow, circling to brown on her cheeks.
The long bone of her jaw untracked
She hides in our kitchen.
He sleeps it off next door.

Her chicken legs tucked under her
She’s frantic with lies, animated
Before the swirling smoke.
On her cigarette she leaves red prints, red
Like a cut on the white cup.
Like a skin she pulls her sweater around her.
She’s cold,
She brings the cold in with her.

In our kitchen she hides.
He sleeps it off next door, his great
Belly heaving with booze.
Again and again she tells the story
As if the details ever changed,
As if blows to the face were somehow
Different beating to beating.

We reach for her but can’t help.
She retreats into her cold love of him
And looks across the table at us
As if across a sea.
Next door he claws out of sleep.
She says she thinks she’ll do something
After all, with her hair tonight.” 
― Bruce Weigl