We knew when he was home

because his boots would be by the front door

when we woke up.

And they’d be in their room,

with the door closed.

No matter how many days, weeks or months

he had been gone…

We tried to give them their time.

Even if we waited impatiently-

like four little monkeys,

giggling loudly,

flopping around in the hallway.

Until he opened the door

and his arms,

so we could fall into the embrace

that only Dad can give.

When we moved to Missoula,

she changed.

I blamed her at the time.

Now I know

that she was only human,

that she needed him

and he was always gone.

When it happened,

I didn’t ask why,

I knew.

I had been the one to tell him

about the other man.

And he had known

but he hadn’t wanted to face it.

Until he had to.

When he heard my words,

he went outside into the dark.

And he prayed…

underneath the blanket of stars

underneath a swaying tower of pine trees.

I watched my father’s tall silhouette sink into the ground

as he fell to his knees,

flattened his chest against the Earth.

It was the only time I saw him cry to God

while asking to be forgiven-

because he knew it was over

and he knew it wasn’t all her fault.



It’s Open Link Night, Week 124 over at d-Verse~ Poet’s Pub.  This is my submission.  Go check them out, lots of great poets!


16 thoughts on “Adultery

  1. poetrypea says:

    So so sad.

  2. vbholmes says:

    A great story and your choice of form adds to the drama. Well done.

  3. Tony Maude says:

    Very powerful – and told with a simplicity and understanding that is not easy to achieve.

  4. Brendan says:

    A precisely told, spot-on weave here. You caught the pathos from every vantage, the kids, the adulterous ones, the adulterated (?) husband — forgiving everyone for being human. Excellent work. – Brendan

  5. emilyspage says:

    There’s something painfully human about this. It was a pleasure to read. Despite the sorrowful subject, I still feel there is a lot of love in the words. Glad to find you via D’verse poets x

  6. Mama Zen says:

    Really powerful write. I can see it.

  7. That last line is wonderful. Well done.

  8. Nara Malone says:

    I liked that he knew the blame wasn’t all hers. It creates a sense of hope yet.

  9. Alex Dissing says:

    Yes, very powerful words. The short, simple sentences really pound your message home.

  10. vivchook says:

    Gosh. This is so beautifully crafted. The pace and balance perfect. The love, and guilt, felt by all of you makes it so tragic. A powerful piece.

  11. How very sad. The way you’ve told this allows me to feel the pain of his loss and your pain as well. You draw me into the scene.

  12. ayala says:

    So sad . A powerful and beautiful poem.

  13. brian miller says:

    dang…strong image of him falling to his knees…in that moment you feel so helpless and overcome with emotion, you need that guidance before you proceed…cause something bad can def happen…

  14. Linda says:

    It hurts everybody, doesn’t it. Great write.

  15. billgncs says:

    perfect pacing, and powerful emotion – you have built a beautiful image here.

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