R-E-S-P-E-C-T (in high male falsetto)
by Francine DuBois
she forgave him within a month
for his affair with the college girl,
even though he smacked the stars
out of her, and the red and white
visions of pain sparkled before her
like the lights of new york.
"i do what i want when i want."
she is fighting the darkness down,
trying not to give into the motion
that wants to pull her under.
to distract her, he sings.
she reaches up towards his voice,
but it's so wrong. his falsetto wasn't
the reason why she fell in love with him:
his strong musky voice now was a faint
screech. her dead father. her dead father.
it was all she could think of while he
stood over her, using that voice she
had heard on the phone--he used it
to mock her asking where he was.
he was still laughing at her, but all
she could think of was her dead father
and how she never could remember
how he sang to her.
he asks if she respects him,
afraid, she says yes, and the falsetto
stops. the anger stops. she has said
the right thing. she is left to recover,
back slumped against the kitchen
cabinets, her mind jumbled with faint
memories and her husband's chirpings.
Francine's Version -- Hezekiah's
Version -- Inspiration
Previous Poem -- Next
Poem -- Table of Contents