Amazing The Significance (Keene New Hampshire, 1978)


This woman with long wavy teenage hair

A small boy child

Lives just across the street from me.

As she opens the door to leave

Using my telephone this second time we meet, suddenly,

Like remembering to tie her shoe,

She tells me her boyfriend beats her black and blue.

That man whose been watching me,

For months now

I have felt

His never nearer than 50 feet





At night I have pulled my window shades,

A woman alone,

Tightly shut.


I tell her I will talk to others,

Find help,

(There is no battered women’s movement

In Keene New Hampshire,

In 1978,

No shelters yet, then, for women and their children),

But she never comes back,

She never comes back until tonight,

Three weeks and six bloody beatings later, she comes back.

He had attacked her today

She fought him off with a baseball bat.

Rashly he rushed off

Left her, the baseball bat,

And she comes.

She says, “ He said you were a lesbian”

She says,  “He told me if I came back again, you would be his next target”

He would come,

Not alone

But accompanied with his many guns.


I thank her for not coming

Amazing the significance.

I deny I am a lesbian

But she tells me he saw me one night.

I remember that night,

Hesitant months ago,

Kissing Sarah too passionately in her Subaru

Under the bright streetlight.

I remember foolishly thinking if anyone saw us,

They would think my beautiful womanly woman was a man,

Because of her





It’s just so hard to always be on guard.

Like all lovers, before parting, we simply kissed a kiss,

That will keep me awake,

The next few nights,


By far,

Than, I would have wished.


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