I’ve hung my light blue
evening gown on the bedroom
door so that at night,
when I turn away from you to sleep,
I still have something to look at—
this dress hung with small moons
of ice, tiny globes of light.
It shines like a disco ball,
awash with miniature spotlights.
You sleep easy and deep,
breathing warm boy thoughts
into the pillow. Our cats
guard the window where the moon
peeks through. And I look
to the dress where it hovers
in a host of shadows.
It floats beside us, ghostly
and bright, buoying the night
with a thousand fireflies.
Meeting Your Married Man
You try not to expect much. You know
There’s someone else he pledged his loyalty to, at least
In the eyes of the church and the state of Minnesota.
Your state is confusion. You lose the ability to chit-chat,
Your agility in crowded supermarkets, your sense
Of humor. The fact that you are a walking, talking cliché
Serves to enervate rather than amuse you.
You get a vibrant rash on your upper arms
And breasts. You scratch it in the wrong places,
Like malls, meetings, and subway cars.
Men give you the once-over and nod knowingly,
Smirking. You want to slap them, wonder
If you’re wearing a sandwich board
Or scarlet letter that advertises your disorder.
This is a disease. Neither one of you is at ease.
At the restaurant, he’s clumsier than usual: chokes
On his croissant, spills coffee when you sneeze.
You wonder what he’s like when he’s with her. With you
He’s as nervous as a stand-up comedian, tense
As a violin. When it’s time for the “assignation,” as you
Jokingly call it, you’re both more thumbs than fingers.
You become so helpless with zippers and buttons
You take to wearing clothes that slip over your head.
He does away with undershirts and belts. You don’t buy
A whole new wardrobe. Mostly you just make do
With what you already have and keep your eyes out
For discontinued labels, for mark downs, irregulars,
For some only slightly damaged goods.
I’ve read a lot of poems, heard lots of talk
About Lot’s wife and the whole last look incident.
When she got God riled up, when she got herself
Turned into a pillar of salt, deaf to the world.
A statue of seasoning in a culinary coma.
Perhaps she was one of those curious,
Impetuous Biblical women
Following in the footsteps of Eve.
Genetically unable to avoid temptation,
She just had to look.
But I think she knew full well
What she was doing. She didn’t last
That long in a damned neighborhood
Because she was a dumb bunny.
Some suggest it was love that did her in—
(Yes, someone always blows that horn).
They’d have you believe
She was so stricken over leaving
Her lover, her bread and butter,
Her perky flame from Sodom,
That she risked life as sodium.
Don’t buy it.
By the time she turned to look,
She knew he was toast.
She may have been a soft touch,
But she was no ninny.
Truth is, she was basically
A homebody at heart. A housewife
Who embodied the phrase, who felt
More married to her home than to her husband.
When the flames started licking
The streets of her town, she knew
All was lost. For the sake of appearances,
She agreed to lift her skirt hem
And run alongside Lot one last time.
The tears she wept were for the things
She left behind. Her whatnots, her knickknacks
And doodads. The pieces of a life.
She only looked back to see if she could tell
Which blazing house was hers.