She rocks gently,
to and fro, to and fro…
days of long labor
and eight children lie in her wrinkles.
She recalls with a tear
the way that life changes
and she pities those
who strive to control the uncontrollable,
which is just about everything.
She remembers the day
she saw his towering figure approach,
felt her heart in her throat
as she fell in love.
She fingers the charm around her neck
that once symbolized
their love and commitment,
a circle that she could not break.
She stares at her arm
and the scar above the right elbow
and recalls how he threw her from
their moving station wagon in 1964.
She cringes at the helplessness she felt
as he raped and ravaged her shaking body,
Christmas morning, 1970,
as their eight children played downstairs.
She regrets the way that she allowed herself
to be belittled, degraded, humiliated
over and over again for 40 years.
But what could a woman do?
Then it was her duty, her fault, her silent secret.
She stuck it out, raised their kids best she could
and saw her youngest baby through college.
Then she took what little she had;
a picture and frame, a tattered bible,
and the ounce of pride she kept hiding.
She left him, his cruel ways,
and the hell that love had led her to.