At some point the love between spouses
may wither,
and the love of the children is reshaped
by the arguments and accusations
exchanged behind closed doors,
spilling into the hallways,
filling each room,
eventually finding their way
into the spaces where children
once played and now hide.

Children bearing witness to accusations,
name calling, tears, threats,
breaking through the walls,
forcing the neighbors
to turn the volume up or down
depending on intention,
for ignorance or for gossip.

The children have developed
survival strategies
that are crafted and reshaped,
becoming the survival strategies
for their tomorrows
and the tomorrows for their children.
Should they have children who will one day
be sitting behind closed doors
that can not contain the tears and anger
between spouses, between parents?

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers. A lot. Her column now appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.