Poetry by Jenean C. Gilstrap: The Shattered Night

Poetry by Jenean C. Gilstrap: The Shattered Night
Jenean C Gilstrap

George Bellows (1882–1925). Drunk Father. 1923 or 1924. Lithograph. Photographer: Library of Congress, Call number FP - XX - B435, no. 60 (B size) [P&P], Reproduction number LC-USZC4-4623

George Bellows (1882–1925). Drunk Father. 1923 or 1924. Lithograph. Photographer: Library of Congress, Call number FP – XX – B435, no. 60 (B size) [P&P], Reproduction number LC-USZC4-4623

In the U.S., domestic violence is defined by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another.”

The statistics today on domestic abuse in America are staggeringly high.  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:  1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.  It is estimated that 1.3 Million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner and nearly 7.8 Million woman have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.  However, domestic violence is not isolated to just the US; sadly, it is rampant worldwide.  Dedicated to all those female victims,  today’s poem allows us to witness this atrocity from the inside out.


the shattered night

all was quiet

babies slept

and fairies danced

round their beds

and then

breaking glass

shattered the night

a door kicked open

put out the light

what was that!

who’s there!

heart pounding

sweating fear

my babies! my babies!

but there they were

safe and sound

who’s there!

who is it!

she turned

and there he was

grinning his evil intent

as he moved toward her

get out of here!

go away!

go away!

she ran

and there he was

saying he loved her

coming closer

get away!

don’t touch me!

don’t touch me!

she grabbed

for the phone

but he beat her to it

and then he beat her

she was his wife

he could do as he wanted

she begged

for him to leave

but he shut her mouth

with his empty hand

with the other hand he held

the knife

please don’t do this!

please don’t do this!

she struggled

but he was bigger

he was stronger

he was her husband he shouted

she had to do what he wanted

who did she think she was

it’s not too late!  go now!

please just go!  don’t do this!

she wrenched

and ran to another room

but he was faster

he was bigger stronger

he threw her onto the couch

he was her husband

who did she think she was

she sobbed

she begged

she struggled

but he was bigger stronger

he had a knife

he was her husband

who did she think she was

o god please help me!

o god please don’t wake the babies!

o god where are you!

she screamed

inside out in silence

reality colored with blood

marital bliss blanketed with bruises

and vile animal smells spilled to the floor

but who did she think she was

o god make him stop!

make him go away!

help me!


and then

all was quiet


View Comments (4)
  • for the honor of being a part of Yareah week after week i am more than grateful! many thanks to martin and isabel for this haven of the arts!

    • Every week people enjoy your poetry. Then, every week people is happier. Thanks, Jenean!

  • Tina Clowes kay

    powerful write that gets right into your bones, so vivid and terrifyingly real…

    • your kind words are so appreciated, tina – many thanks for taking the time to drop by and leave a comment – little things mean a lot!
      the thing of DV is such a world wide issue – and many times for a lot of reasons, these incidents go unreported by the female victims – like so many things, an issue that needs a voice – again, many thanks for your comment!

Jenean C Gilstrap

Since childhood, Ms. Gilstrap has had a love of words-of writing and other arts. An individualist, she chooses not to follow any pre-conceived pattern for the outlay of these words – rather, she allows them the freedom to forge their own path as they make their way from her heart to pen to paper. Her art work involves both photography and mixed media on large canvasses. She is a weekly featured poet in Yareah Magazine where her works have appeared for more than a year. Her piece The Granite God was the winning poem in Painted Bride Quarterly Sidebar #12 [2012]. Her work has been featured in performance poetry theatrical productions in Louisiana and her short story, Retribution, published in the Helicon Literary Magazine there. She and her gypsywomanworld blog are included as character/story elements in Ghost Key, the fictional work of award-winning author Trish MacGregor. Her first volume of poetry [2013], words unspoken, is available in both paperback and on kindle at amazon. She currently divides her time between her home in Louisiana and the east coast as she completes her second volume of poetry to be published in 2013.

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