They sit in the booth,
she still and defensive,
he pushy and controlling.

“I want my kids”,
he shakes his head.
“I am not leaving them, it’s you,”
he shakes his head.

“I’ll take you to court,”
“You won’t win, you’re crazy.”
“They need me,”
he shakes his head.

She shakes with anger,
screams as she leaves,
“I want my kids,”
heads turn.

Her Choices

He won’t let me have them.
I can’t take him to court,
Think of what it will do to the kids.
I don’t have a job,
I have been sick.
I will lose them,
They hate me already.

I have to get away,
I will die if I stay,
it has been close already.
I can’t stand even to look at him,
I cringe if he touches me.
How can I leave my kids with this man,
I must.


She leaves.
Alone, no children, no friends, no life.
Sisters with their families
makes it harder,
reminder of what she has lost.

She goes back,
to visit.
Under his control, time, place,
nothing is right.
The kids hate.
The visits interrupt life,
she is a problem to them.

She visits anyway,
they must see her.
They need to know.
It is him, not them.

Phone Calls

“Hi, it’s Mom.”
Dead voices.
“Oh, hi Mom.”
“How’ve you been.”
“What ya been doing?”
Non-conversation continues.
They get off quickly.
She struggles through all three.
They must hear her.
They need to know.
It is him, not them.


She must call,
no, it hurts too much,
they don’t want to talk.
She must.
I’ll just skip this time,
no, they need to know.
I am here, not there, but here for you.
It is him, not them.

Weekend Visits

He travels half way, she meets them.
They are angry,
not wanting to come.
They are hurt and angry,
she left them.
They don’t want to be with her.

At night they sleep,
Closed in and overwhelmed,
air full of anger even in sleep,
outside she breathes deep.

It is so painful,
they must know,
I am here for you,
It was him, not them.


Needy for love she dates.
They hate him.
He is stupid,
“Mom, what are you thinking?”
She needs love,
he is loving and kind.
Yes, they are right, not cool.
Will this confrontation never end.
Can’t I give up,
no, they need me,
they need to know.
It was him, not them.

Far or Close

One begs move closer.
Another begs, no.
The little one just cries.

I need you to sew for me.
I can’t talk to dad.
I want you to see my play.
I want you to see my ballgame.

You can’t come back,
no more fights,
tension again.
We’re ok,
it would be too hard,
don’t come.

“When are you coming home?”

How can I do it,
he controls,
uses me.
Never get well,
just now improving.

What should I do?
They need me.
They need to know.
It was him, not them.

Copyright Valerie H. Klaus, all rights reserved.
12549 W. Union Rd.
Spencerville, Ohio 45887-9642