Women in My Family

Women in my family dream of gentleman

tender and loving but fall for brutes

whose vice like demeanor asphyxiates

our self respect

 

Who else will love us?

We demand

because he loves us, he holds us, he kisses us

on occasion 

when its convenient

when he's drunk

 

Guys who swear they're men

but act like boys

leaving us women to carry twice the responsibility

and with both of our worlds resting up there

our shoulders can't summon the strength 

to shove off his smothering love.

Even if we wanted to.

 

We are made to believe it's our fault.

If we had loved more

laughed more

not been "such a bitch"

when our biggest crime is sitting patiently,

waiting for our rescue

waiting for someone who's love won't hurt

who's love is not tainted by dreams 

of other women prettier, thinner, nicer, easier.

 

Not tainted by the lies

the simple acts concealed

as if our hearts couldn't take

one more ounce of hurt.

As if the truth might break us

or worse

give us the strength to leave.

 

"I won't do it again." turns into

"It just kind of happened." becomes

"I'm sorry." devolves into 

"Why are you still upset? Get over it"

and it never ends

a restless cycle driven by the belief

that we don't deserve love.

because we're not enough

ad we'll take what we can get.

 

This unfulfilling love

fills a temporary emptiness

like a gasp of air

between waves of loneliness

when all we have to do is kick

push

flail.

We'll drown if we don't get out

but we were never taught to swim.

 

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