"Betrayal" Poetry Contest Winners / March 2013 (Issue 20)

The Dare

by Amy Uyematsu

 We've seen it before. First the snarling and curses.
Then the angelic turn as the blue agave numbs his fury,
a delicious smile and shimmer in his eyes fooling us
that it's safe now to ask what happened. Foolish move -
the tequila now twisting his tongue into a snake's, hissing
and snapping at any moving object. No time to waste,
we shut all the windows and hush the children to bed.
His story is one we know too well - how he wanted to kill
that white pendejo but couldn't because of his job.
They’re all alike, treat us Mexicans like dogs. As he slurs
a familiar refrain, Isallfucked, Isallfuckedup,
we know our man is dangerous. So we nod in sympathy,
hoping he'll pass out, but he doesn't calm down.
He's got murder on his mind and he sees us there,
furious when we tell him we understand. He charges
we're only women, we can never know what he
has to put up with. And now he's coming for us -
the wife or girlfriend who doesn't treat him the way
he deserves. Tries to draw us into battle, air jabs his finger
toward our face - you don't love me, you never cared.
He'll say anything to get us to lose it, but tonight we won’t
get tricked and take him on. Better to let him hurt us
with lies, keep him home for his own protection.

This is a Finalist of Cha's "Betrayal" Poetry Contest. Read a description of the poem by Amy Uyematsu here. [Read Andrew Barker's commentary on this poem here.] [Return to the "Betrayal" section.]
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