Errata Literary Magazine

Bucks County Writers Workshop

Women's Voices: Three Poems

by John Scioli

The Adulterer's Wife

When I was ten minutes from home,
He opened the windows,
Upstairs and down,
Too much the summer's heat,
And went his faithless way.

Amid the downpour,
Wind, lightening and rain
I returned, frantic
When I saw, (and the
Gloomy gray sky bore witness),
Through flopping wipers
And a foggy windshield,
Sheers flapping in the torrent,
From gaping holes
Black and abandoned,
Like an old hag's hair,
Outlining the face of doom,
The windows of our defiled house.

Inside, streaked walls and
Water beaded sills,
A damp bed and
An overturned light.
I stood upon curled tiles
And a warped floor,
Wondering if ever
My plundered home,
Would know again, Life or love.

The Alcoholic's Wife

I will not let him in the house.
I cannot bear him wet and soggy
Crumpled in a corner with his
Warped lips crying out for more.
I will not let him in my house.
The demons cling like cold rain.
They penetrate his clothes, leaving
A greasy film upon his forehead.

He may stand next to me and take
Pictures when our children wed,
Orphans with a propped up father
here at my side a life apart but
I shall not let him in my house
Where the rooms pale with neglect
Where the old bed is brittle and scarred.
My arms are somber now and tired

Of oblivion for twenty years.
I pray for him who sold his rights
For a bottle of rum and the cup of staggering.
He would not suffer God knows what
But we must bear the pain of him.
Alone in this empty place I'll wait
For the death of him or the death of me,
But I will not let him in my house.

The Widow

The doctor told me when he died,
"We did our best, he did
his best."
The children didn't understand.
But now, they're fine.
It's me. I can't rest.

I'm like a row boat
On a troubled August sea.
Sometimes at night
I wish the rope would snap
And wave on wave lead me
Into that dark infinity
Where his boat went
These widowed years,
My only hope that he
Will be waiting for me
Tethered by stars.

Note: There is a famous song cycle by Schumann called "Frauenleben," a woman's life. It centers around children and a husband and domestic and marital bliss. These voices I have heard brought greater complexity into my understanding of a woman's life.

Bucks County Writers Workshop