I. The Father
kisses her mother goodbye 
as he heads to “work.”
While his wife clocks twelve hours,
he sips stale, gas-station coffee 
munches matinee popcorn 
buys another losing lottery ticket
returns home, grumbles
What a rough day
before he blesses the supper.

II. The Boyfriend
purrs poetry,
pledges to travel the world, as his hand
slides up her shirt.
She wants to succumb,
but she made vows to God and a future husband.
At the church carnival, 
his arm snakes another’s waist
his mouth whispers recycled promises.

III. The First Husband
pins her body against the wall
crushes her neck with meaty hands
until her body slides unconscious to the floor.
When she comes to,
he strokes her hair
murmurs another apology against her ear
begs her and God’s forgiveness.

IV. The Last Husband
texts he’s working late.
Feed the kid.  I’ll meet you at Bible study.
She calls his office — 
the ring unanswered, while 
he unzips his pants
drops a stack of bills 
on another hotel nightstand.