Passive-Aggressive Handbook Ch. 17: Violence Against Women
by Patricia L. Hamilton

Choose someone compliant,
soft as a mattress that retains
your imprint after you rise.

An only child, unschooled
in spilling secrets or sparring,
unused to the quick deflective jab,

unpracticed with men.
All the better if she’s eager to please,
a sunflower leaning, yearning.

Smile often, but never make promises.
Keep your lines untangled
and your bait fresh.

Increase her trust, steadily
twisting the knob on the stove
until the flame burns bright blue.

Let her meet the family
as if making steady progress
up a steep, rocky trail.

When spring warmth stirs,
suggest watching the moonrise.
Drive somewhere remote.

She will expect romance.
Spring the trap:
"What would you do if . . . ?"

Enjoy watching her confusion
turn to terror
as she realizes her utter isolation.

Later make sure
you lock up
every scrap of paper in the world.

Pitch the key into the black night.
If ever she finds a pen,
she'll write a scream to last forever.

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