Youíre such a beauty, he purred,
his white hair brushed back
from smooth forehead, gentle eyes.
I did preen, I must admit, felt
all fluffed up as I glided across
the room to be near him.

He leaned near my ear, grabbed
my neck with rough nails, dug in
to bone, sprayed spittle in my face
as he hissed, filthy guttersnipe.
Devilís whore. Out to destroy me.

And I did love you
, he moaned.
Everybody loved you. He yanked me
to my trembling feet, shoved me toward
the door as I tried to find my breath,
some strong words, some way to
understand his transformation.

He jerked my arms behind me,
bound them bleeding, slapped
my mouth as I scanned the scattered
onlookers for any kind face. Surely,
they would all rise up, stop him.

Instead, they bent to light the fire
while he, flicking a thread from
his tailored topcoat, turned away
to roll a cigarette with friends,
people he could trust.

© 1995, Marilyn Mashburn Lewis

Marilyn Mashburn Lewis is a body- and wordworker in Seattle; her poetry has been published in Dream Machinery, Passager, Birdyís Circle, Atom Mind, convolvulus, and Seattle Metroís project of Art and Poetry on buses