She was the other woman
with cleavage-neckline of bulging breasts
packed into a double “D;” teased
hair, a blonde bee-hive; swinging
from each ear - crystal chandeliers.
Onyx big as coal on her stuck up pinky.
Cigarette dangling, its burning glows
between ringed diamonds, emeralds, rubies
large as ice cubes floating face down
in a cold long-stemmed drink that
fingernails lacquered in blood-red
curled around the neck of.
All she had to do was keep her watch
synchronized with his, decorate
his black-suited arm. “His”
whenever he wanted to. Her reward –
dresses, jewels, plenty of money
to pay the uptown rent. Until the day
he blew to pieces while keying his front door.
Her eviction; sale of jewels – furs – and gold.
Last 40 years spent waitressing tables
at the local windowless bar. “Regulars”
know her fairy tale gone wrong, a reverse
Cinderella alone every midnight sweeping
and mopping up floors. Cleaning toilets.
No Godmother or Godfather
to grant wishes, only rags and worn
canvas sneakers. Sunken smile rotting;
eyes vacant like a left over jack-o-lantern
still around after Thanksgiving.
He swung me by my
tits around the room
unitl I was dizzy
then ripped out my vagina
my nerves stood at attention
electrified by fear
I almost crossed the street into
snapped out - Darkness
an extra inch and my mind may have…
Tears tired out my pillow
hibernating under blankets
wrapped in a safe cocoon
until he’d strip me bare
I walked like a zombie for days
my flesh eaten
my blood drank
venom heated my veins
to boiling blue levels – that is when
I learned the definition of hate
After fifteen years
I hung the dirty laundry on the line
no longer cared if neighbors saw stains
I wanted to leave
always my cherubs
fluttered their innocent wings
holding my heart
their dazzling white forgiveness
I threw all clutter
into a bin
got rid of bag after bag
Rearranged nine pairs
of his leather shoes,
“new balance” sneakers
that I had tripped over
most of my married life
lifting thick layers,
polished tear-stained wood
to a lemon-oil sheen,
Windex-ed dull-gray grime
from my reflection,
wiped the paint clean
where raging words
soiled silent walls,
mopped behind his “mule chest”,
and vacuumed the carpet fresh.
I pried open the nailed-shut
windows and removed the storm-
glass pane, replacing
shiny silver-screens -
April’s scented breezes
blew clean through their
When darkness fell, again
he closed the blinds
tight; drew the drapes.
He mounted his bitch
like a dog
entering from behind.
First appeared as “Wedlock.” Poetry Ink. Philadelphia: Moonstone, Inc. 2008. 17. Print.
Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, a native Philadelphian, whose first full-length collection of poetry, Images of Being, (StoneGarden.net publishing) was released October 2011. Recipient of the AEV Grant for Poetry in 2013. Currently Poet in Residence at Ryerss Museum and Library. She can be found at http://www.dianesahms-