A note about “Requited”

/ Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 / No Comments »

This rough-hewn villanelle is wicked fun of a sort on the surface, but there’s something utterly unfunny underneath.

When I worked as a courts reporter, covering crimes, I learned that many terrible things follow utterly predictable patterns. I covered several murders that could be summed up the same way: a woman slain by her former husband or lover. Inevitably, these cases would have an easily-accessed paper trail attached to them, documenting threats and accusations of domestic abuse, court dates missed or charges dismissed, protective orders sworn out. And yet none of it effective in preventing tragedy — the killer might be punished afterward to some degree, but never stopped in time. I had much occasion to meditate on the mindset that green-lights this notion, that when a partner leaves, or tries to leave, or simply is suspected somehow of wanting to leave, the best response is to kill her rather than let her go and move on with your own life.

In my mind, the voice of the poem is female.

(Read and hear the poem here.)

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