Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Quartina: brunt, sundered, froth, question for ReadWritePoem

He opened his mouth, words smelling of death, and sundered
our life. I shrank from the brunt
force of their whip. My eyes contained question
marks and poison began to froth.

He’d come home, poured himself a beer with too much froth,
then settled into after-work life sundered
by a long ride home. I asked him an innocent question.
Knives were his answer and my heart bore the brunt

of their sharpness. Blades and words equal brunt
trauma. Sure, our marriage hadn’t always been froth-
y, but I had never questioned
its longevity, certainly never expected the sunder-

ing. Picture the Titanic splitting asunder.
That was me, tearing from the brunt
of his iceberg words. “Can I ask you a question?”
I said and a volcano of “No” frothed

from his mouth, white froth as hard as the brunt
of fists. I tucked my question away and watched our ship sink, sundered.


  1. I really like the way the poem's repetition of certain words really enhances the sense of claustrophobia, and the man's taciturn mass; I really had the sense of violence as silence, as implied threat. The beer's ironic effervescence is the cold boil that betrays the seething emotion.

  2. from Therese Broderick -- I like how the repeating word "question" adds to the power of this quartina. The quartina form keeps coiling around itself, just as an unasked question does. There's a sense of not being able to escape.

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