The Villainised Wife

She endured his stomping body, his hollering voice.

Her hands were too exhausted to form a fist.

And she clenched her jaw to not make a sound.

Every single word would be wrong, would enrage him more.

Audacious. He needed to vent and she was forced into silence.

And I looked at her in my head, hearing his circus in the kitchen.

How could she find the courage to walk out on a defeated man?


I cannot grow in these parameters, I refuse to, there is no air.

She had it in her, it needed to be excavated, her autonomy,

Her freedom. To act despite her accumulating fears.

To draw a million lines across his body that shouted separation.

He had villainised her for too long in his night-time performances.

She abdicated the leading part in his narcissistic madhouse.

He buried himself in his detrimental fantasies and he couldn’t take her down with him.


“Peggy Letellier” by Paul César Helleu (1859-1927)

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