his stink after a workout. Does he want more?
Does he want a nice house in JP?
We enjoy cliché, think it so kitsch. We laugh
at ourselves but kiss deep
after the vows in Cambridge
on that wonderful summer Sunday.
What will he be doing? A waiter?
An architect? A fire fighter. Yes, a fire fighter,
Engine 28, and he stays strong and lean
but lets me get fat filling out
forms for fellowships so I can write
the books that no one buys and
he says one day Why not a novel
like the one Sheryl wrote? Now she’s on TV
and you are so much cuter than she is
but the way he says it is somehow
not as true as it once was. You are not
so cute as those cuddling moments
in the bedroom we shared that winter
we couldn’t pay for heat
so we rubbed sticks together
under baby blue blankets and at baby,
as I retell that story, I balk
and he pretends not to notice. I say
something about kids and he says
he wants to go out, Let’s go out,
we never go out and I say you go,
I have edits to do and he does and comes
home late and smells of someone else
but you don’t ask because, well,
because you should have gone out
you never go out and the way he lies down
with his back to your back hurts, hurts
deeper than anything you’ve ever known
because something has changed, something
cold kicks in the blue blankets
even as he whispers something
about adoption before passing out
in the musky darkness. In the morning
you go out alone to a diner
to get eggs and coffee and you and see
the girl you dreamed about one night
in college, a dream you did not realize
you remembered until you see her and
in the dream she had on a red sweater
and black jeans and here she is, black jeans,
a red sweater. Her eyes hold yours.
You don’t drop them like you always do.
She will look at you with a smile that crushes
you like a stepped on thing. You talk and joke
about things you knew and things that happened
since. You feel this pulling in your arms,
shoulders, a desire to touch her cheek,
her hair, as if you had done so
a million times before, something old
and familiar and you see it cross her eyes too
for just a second. Then it’s gone. You ask
if she’s still married and maybe she is divorced
but the kids are great and maybe she’ll ask
about him and you’ll say yes.
She’ll joke and say what a waste
and she’ll laugh and you’ll laugh too.
You’ll exchange numbers but never call.
You’ll go home and he will be there.
I’m sorry, he says and I’m sorry too,
I say and then the clumsy kiss, goofy hug.
He makes us lunch and we talk
like we haven’t talked in years.