Delusions: A Poem

by Chanel Dupree

Every night at 8:30pm my grandmother accuses my grandfather of cheating on her
… my grandfather is 83 years old
He says to her
“now, weez how i’m gon’ cheat on you when i gotta pee every five minutes”
The whole family laughs
Chalks it up to one of my grandmother’s crazy antics
That was until she swore she saw other women in their house
I don’t know if these are hallucinations or flashbacks
Forty years ago these were current events
My grandfather fed all five children
and left his vows on countless bed sheets
he did what a man was suppose to do back then—
… come home afterwards

leave no trace of perfume
but a wife always knows when someone else’s sweat is mixed in with their husband’s
My grandmother never really got over sharing her husband
Forty years later these women are still inside of her
My grandfather calls in a fearful slur every night

“Y'all need to help me, weez is going crazy
she’s seeing other women in the house, i don’t know what I’m gon’ do”
Before I could answer him
my grandmother voice burst through my ears like a machete


“what women,weez”

“That bitch by the sofa sipping my tea like
she waiting for supper” 

“weez, that’s the coffee table”

“ think i’m stupid? i know those legs anyway
i watched them walk up and down the supermarket
acting like they weren’t wrapped around my husband
passing me a grapefruit like she’s my equal”


“I know those breasts, Preniss, you were buried in them
last night"

“weez, you going crazy”

“this ain’t crazy baby, this is called healing
now like i said you get these women out of my
goddamn house”

...The phone clicks off
my grandmother’s voice usually the sound of fresh cornbread
sounds more like a throat filled with gunpowder
i didn’t know resentment could cancer the mind
I want to tell that I’m scared
that one night as she’s heading downstairs for a drink of water
she sees movement in the dark
mistakes for my grandfather thrusting
grabs the nearest lamp
and just keeps hitting and hitting
until she figures out why she stayed in the first place
i fear she might kill him while he’s watering the plants

I want to tell her that I understand
I know what it’s like
To hand a plate of my limbs over to a man that has already eaten
To see her in his joints
to know exactly what she liked

I want to ask her how’d she do it with a family
put her heartbreak on hold to raise their children
stitch a smile on her face while her sheets are tangled in sin

During the day my grandfather destroyed his marriage certificate for swung open legs
at night he return to my grandmother with an open and used mouth
her mouth is now an open barrel ready to fire
...Til death do them part.

Photo: Shutterstock

Chanel Dupree born in Brooklyn, NY to a single mom who taught herself to read while pregnant with her daughter. Chanel has performed for Yale University, the United Nations, and has been featured in the Huffington Post twice—all to accomplish her dreams. She is currently raising funds to continue perfecting her writing craft in Paris this summer. Visit her GoFundMe for more information.