“I Married Young”

I married young.
Fifteen.
He was older.
Thirty.
He was kind.
He was gentle.
He was love.

My first child
Was born.
My second.
My third.
I was nineteen.
My husband was thirty-four.

One day
The police came.
They took my blood.
They took the blood
Of my children.
They took the blood
Of my husband.

A paternity suit
Was filed.
Against him.
Then a second.
Then a third.
Then he had three
More young mouths
To feed.
And three young mothers
To support.
And me.

The police returned.
How long
Have you known
Your husband?
One asked.
All of my life.
I answered.
The officer of the law
Was kind.
He was gentle.
Sit down.
He said.

Do you know your mama?
He asked.
Yes, I answered.
Does she know your husband?
He asked.
Yes, I answered.
Very well?
He asked.
Yes, I answered.
He took my hand.

We have your DNA.
He said.
And that
Of your children.
Your husband.
Your mama.

He started to speak.
Then stopped.
I wanted to soothe him.
To help him say
What he wanted to say.
He started again.
Your husband.
He said.
Do you love him?

I thought.
I used to.
Before the young mothers
Before their illegitimate children.
Before.
When he was kind
When he was gentle.
When he was love.
I no longer knew.
I said nothing.

The policeman
Took my other hand.
A long time ago
He said.
Your husband
He paused.
Was with
Your mother.
My heart stopped.
My mother?
And my husband?

Were they lovers?
I asked.
Yes, he said.
Did they have children?
I asked.
Yes, he answered.
One.
He said.
I have a sister?
Or a brother?
My children
Have an aunt?
Or an uncle?

Did the child die?
I asked.
No, he answered.
Another mouth to feed
I thought.
Where is this child?
I asked.

He sat quietly
Then looked into my eyes.
Right here.
He said.
In front of me.
He said.
You.
He said.
You are that child.

I was married at fifteen.
Widowed at nineteen….

(Inspired by “Unexpected Poetics“, dverse.com, September 22, 2012.)

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to “I Married Young”

  1. ManicDdaily says:

    OMG! This became increasingly “expected” as I read the poem, but pretty grim. So awful. A lot of terrible stories. I’m not quite sure of the murder part at the end – I mean, I’m not sure that the poem needs that part in that it is very chilling as is. Your matter-of-fact telling/showing is very effective here. k.

    • vbholmes says:

      I agree–it can easily stand without the murder. I just had to take care of the husband (and unfortunately, that takes care of my narrator as well). I think I’ll leave the ending in for a while to see anyone else has an opinion. Many thanks for your comment–a very good one! And you came up with a great prompt–fun to read the responses.

  2. claudia says:

    oh my god..i thought it can’t get worse, it can’t get worse…and it still got…tight story..tight closure..

  3. What a story…sadly it happens ~ The terse and simple phrases made the events more horrible and terrifying ~

  4. brian miller says:

    holy snap….this was like the snowball rolling downt he hill getting bigger and bigger…and it got worse and worse…and the wrap up wal like the exclamation point so i could breath….wow…

  5. Mohana says:

    Terse!
    Tight write…and you did it so well.

  6. I was right with you…through the horror, and I agree with your ending. What about killing her mother,too. (I can’t believe I’m suggesting that, but after all…look at what she has found out.)

  7. arkenaten says:

    I normally do not like poetry at all. But I liked this. All except the last line.
    The verse will stand without it. Just my view.
    Very good job, though.

  8. vb holmes says:

    Thanks for the comment–and the shove. I had planned to delete the last two sentences and then hesitated. Just did it. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and comments.

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