Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Joy Gaines-Friedler: Domestic Violence

When she said she was leaving him

         I couldn’t guess why—

just listened and watched her push eggs

‘round her plate, heard the clanging of kitchen staff

       and some other sound—

a hum of fear—am I making it up now?

When she said,

      this wasn’t supposed to happen to me,

a tray crashed—I heard someone laugh

(at my own failed marriage?)

                                    I didn’t understand

what she was saying – as though seeing only

the fur of wild things, the feathers of hawks.       

  It wasn’t supposed to happen to me—

I heard a glass smash, imagined a chuppah

     falling. I saw the white pillars of her porch

the perfect rows of roses

neighbors shaking their heads—

                        I heard book club gossip.

And now that she’s gone?

What of those nameless insects

who make themselves so well known at night

     pulsing like blood through silence,  pulsing

like a tune I can’t get out of my head, pulsing,

    Get it? Get it?


Copyright 2021 Joy Gaines-Friedler

Joy Gaines-Friedler is a photographer and poet who lives in Michigan. Her books include Capture Theory (Aldrich Press, 2018).


Joy Gaines-Friedler

4 comments on “Joy Gaines-Friedler: Domestic Violence

  1. Alexander Morgan
    August 24, 2021

    I love the restraint here. I too have listened without getting it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      August 24, 2021

      Yes, the restraint makes the realization of what’s going on even more powerful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    August 23, 2021

    Took me back immediately to my first marriage—a brilliant physicist who loved traveling as much as I did, but also a violent alcoholic. It wasn’t supposed to happen to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 23, 2021 by in Health and Nutrition, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .

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