For the Wife Beater's Wife With blue irises her face is blossomed. Blue Circling to yellow, circling to brown on her cheeks. The long bone of her jaw untracked She hides in our kitchen. He sleeps it off next door. Her chicken legs tucked under her She's frantic with lies, animated Before the swirling smoke. On her cigarette she leaves red prints, red Like a cut on the white cup. Like a skin she pulls her sweater around her. She's cold, She brings the cold in with her. In our kitchen she hides. He sleeps it off next door, his great Belly heaving with booze. Again and again she tells the story As if the details ever changed, As if blows to the face were somehow Different beating to beating. We reach for her but can't help. She retreats into her cold love of him And looks across the table at us As if across a sea. Next door he claws out of sleep. She says she thinks she'll do something After all, with her hair tonight.