What Every Man Deserves

the sound of abuse

has a unique timbre

not the harsh consonant of the accuser

but the high pitched whine fermented over time

of the victim

it also has a shape

rounded and hunched

trembles and jumps

at the slightest mistake

bracing for the aftermath

and it’s not a fist

but the blow comes down with a force to match

doesn’t pierce the skin

and yet there are scars

doesn’t draw blood

yet they walk around bled dry

and empty

eyes with narrow slits of light

ready to close at the first sign

of its coming

wincing in advance

and they forget to open them

when talking to friends

because they’ve forgotten

what friends do

but afraid they might see inside

and accuse them too

or ask questions, why?

Why did it take you so long to flee?

Why did it take you so long to see?

Why did it take you so long to believe,

that every man deserves to be treated with dignity?

Cindy PalinImage