Bio Note: Coming from a family of long marriages, I write about the many facets of marriage often. In these poems, what it means and the impact it has is reflected by three generations. In a marriage of my own for over 40 years, I find the topic fascinating.
@ Age 93
My mother-in-law finds seventeen ways to squeeze mention of him into an hour’s conversation when we visit in her kitchen for lemonade and forkfuls of raspberry crisp Giddy as a schoolgirl who just got asked to go steady by the boy she’s long had a crush on his name a melody the breeze carries through the screen sweet as summer itself
YOUR DAUGHTER TELLS YOU
SHE HAS 3 BOYFRIENDS
AND #3 IS A MARRIED MAN
while you’re seated on her deck outside the kitchen holding breakfast bowls. Pacific Northwest sun shines, toes bare for the first time in six months, and she says she’d see this other boyfriend except he is spending today with his other girlfriend so you ask why did he get married if he wants to spend his days with other girlfriends? Your daughter winces for aren’t you Midwest-vanilla-beige wedlocked with her dad for three decades! Well, someday, like J, she and her primary K might marry too, she claims. Show that they love each other best (and for the tax breaks and hospital rights), but how can she open her heart to J when she knows he won’t always be there for her? Your daughter says since she has K, she doesn’t want always with J. She is pulling a brush in long strokes through her glossy hair, slim arms still tan from last summer’s beaches. And if K is with HIS other girlfriend, I still have L. L. The man she had you come meet at the café the night before, the man whose speech was peppered with “we’s” because he lives with the mother of his son. You see how well this all works, Mom? What you see is how crowded this deck has become with denim knees, buckled boots, lowered hat brims, hands cupping hips, arms braced by shoulders - calendars so clotted with names that they’re sliding off walls from the weight of the ink. Your daughter says cheating isn’t part of their lexicon. Nor is belonging or mine. She is pulling loose hair from the bristles of her brush in a feathery motion, opening her palm to the sky so the breeze can catch and carry each strand away.
©2020 Shoshauna Shy
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