Ladies In Waiting

Waiting on Words

His Words

His Words

When someone shows you who they are, believe them, the first time.
___Maya Angelou

On our first anniversary:

“It takes ten years to make a woman,
a good wife.”

While drinking and playing cards
with my sister and her husband:

“I was drunk, the first time we had sex.
I don’t remember. She said she was
a virgin. I checked, there was no blood.
So, I can never know if she was, or not.
That just means, I can never really, truly
trust her.”

In our bedroom, with our children
in the next room, watching television:

Laughing out loud, “Rape? There can’t be
rape in a marriage. It isn’t possible. You
made promises to meet my needs, even
if it hurts a little. Besides, you were asking
for it, flaunting yourself, taunting
me in that skimpy dress.”

On our tenth anniversary:

“It takes twenty years to make a woman,
a good wife.”

When asked about our sex life,
by the marriage counselor:

“I don’t see why I have to give up
quantity, just so she can have some quality.”

(the counselor, a male, turned to me and said,
“Get the hell out, now.”)

With our four children, commanded to sit
on the floor in our living room:

“No one, none of you will leave
this room, until at least one of you,
agrees with me and says,
‘Your mother has never really
been here for you, never really
loved you, because she is selfish
to the core, incapable of loving
anyone.’ ”

After I started writing poetry:

“It’s foolish of you to think you
can write anything worth reading.
I’m the one who has been working,
out in the world. You just don’t know,
can’t understand. You can’t say things
like that. I’ll help you choose the words
you can use.”

Shortly after I started college:

“You can’t go to school. You have to quit,
now! If you don’t, it will be the end
of this marriage.”

For the first time, he was absolutely correct.

Elizabeth Crawford  11/9/2017

Posted to Micropoetry: November 2017







  1. Wow… this is like a bad story where you just can’t wait for the victim to make their escape and are left wondering what’s taking them so long.. but then we can’t really be in her shoes and know what all the little parts are that go into the decision. Just have to be glad she made it out into a safe and happy place. Chilling. Thanks for writing and sharing this Elizabeth!

    You are correct, Rajani, there is a long story, with a long list of little parts, behind this one. But, like you, I’m glad she finally fought free and became her own person.


  2. Oh my God, geez! What a read this was, so emotional. Like Hemingway said “….sit at the typewriter and bleed…” You left it all on the page. Sounds like the beginning of a script. Very well done Elizabeth. Thank you.


    It is poetry, the writing of it, and its demand for truth that allowed me to finally write it. And when the dam breaks, there’s usually a flood, lol…and these experiences are far behind me now. Thanks for reading and for commenting,


  3. Such terrible experiences the woman everywhere has to endure! Most of the time for saving marriage, for children’s sake. Ugh…

  4. Marianne

    Your words are horrifying, and I’m so sorry. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish this man caused. Thank you for being brave enough to share.

    • Thank you for reading, Marianne. It takes a long time to come to terms with the black and white reality of abuse. Then even more to gather the strength to walk away from it. Add to that a religious upbringing that defined divorce as a mortal sin, and the fear bound up in all of it, this piece of writing was a very important and freeing experience for me. And long overdue.


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