Tag Archives: marriage

No Right

A man
and a woman
have no right
to fall
to feel
to fantasize
about each other
or about a life
their bedroom
even if the bed
they go home to
is empty
or on the floor
or otherwise
by heat
as long as
this man
and this woman
have somehow
the most
of themselves
to an incompatible
in the form
of a promise
that no one
wants to





Tug of War

you will be expected
to demonstrate
your genetic fortitude
while you get the work done
efficiently and well
and you will be expected
to laugh at the jokes
made by your father
at the expense
of your mother
when she’s not around
and you will do this
with an effort so great
it will appear effortless
and later on
you will be expected
to use the manners
you learned as a child
while you listen
to your mother rehash
the past forty years
of emotional neglect
which was worth it
she swears
because she got you
so you listen
with a detached disgust
that’s replaced your empathy
making sure the lines
in your furrowed brow
appear authentic
because you
are on the payroll
and your job
isn’t damage control
your job is
favorite child
and you’re going for golden
on two accounts.





On the Floor

The man
admires the woman
who is puckered up
in a tight black dress
slit up the thigh
standing at a flattering angle
in what appears to be
a bathroom so public
the trash can is overflowing–
but the man doesn’t care
about the brown
paper towels
and mascara stained tissues
on the floor
beside her 3 inch heel–
or that all of us can see her
under that confident facade–
he is taken
by her red lips
and her youth
which makes him feel
she might
have a need for him
his wife no longer feels–
so he types
his approval
in just one word.
No exclamation mark
to differentiate
his compliment
from his base desire
to crawl into that photo
and add her dress
to the pile on the floor.


Out Loud

Now that it’s over
and I begin to speak of us
out loud in past tense
I am able to listen
to myself
explain to others
how a perfectly
complacent marriage
became a severing
of the cleanest kind
without war or bitterness
or even regret
because neither of us
will take responsibility
for our contribution—
which is that detail
each of us will leave out
when we hear ourselves
tell our side of the story.






Your Name

I know one day
I’ll be buried
under these memories
instead of your body
draped so casually
over mine
because I’m running
out of excuses
for why I need
the entire Sunday
afternoon to do
what could be done
on any other day
in half the time—
and those lies I tell
are so flimsy
and weakened
by my love for you
that it’s just
a matter of time
before I’ll come clean
with a confession—
and your name will
be so heavy
down in my heart
I don’t know how
I’ll lift it into my voice
without breaking.






“The Lovers” by Rene Magritte, 1928

After I Leave

After I leave you
I don’t adjust right away
to the familiar things
I return home to
and I don’t stop thinking
about the reasons
we work
and the reasons we don’t—
and the reasons we don’t
have nothing to do
with a deficiency of love
or lack of joy
or misplaced hope,
but the measurement
of life invested elsewhere—
in those familiar things
that breathe and need
and trust
that I’ll come home
after I’ve had time alone,
which is the lie I tell
when I walk in the door
with stories of
how rejuvenating it was
to spend time in nature—
and I feel guilty
for not wanting
a welcome home kiss
because I want yours
to be the last one on my lips.







“The Brook” by John Singer Sargent, 1907


Another Sunday Afternoon

You were already hanging on
by a thread today
when you answered the phone
with as much normal in your voice
as you could muster
and you listened to your spouse
explain the need for something
and you don’t have the patience
or the desire
to pay attention anymore
to what amounts to gibberish
after the mad money
goes up in smoke every afternoon
so you hung up the phone
and packed your bag
and wished upon a star
you could be gone when he gets home
but you just sit on the bed
with the keys in your shaking hands
because you know
you have nowhere else to go.








“Repose” by John Singer Sargent, 1911