And do you think that love itself,
Living in such an ugly house,
Can prosper long?
Edna St Vincent Millay
The ring of red wine on the coaster dries,
see my lips have left their mark on your glass.
It happened when I tasted you in the Merlot.
wanted a mouthful of your fruity tones,
wanted your blood to break my bread.
do the rituals:
fret about saltiness in the stew
then the blandness of it;
flatter guests like the faithful wife.
but the man with the ring
on his finger does not look at me.
He knows I am half of another whole.
Across the table,
you graze the lip-print.
Your fingertips touch every grove
circle the length of my smile,
from the centre.
despise the teapot that sits stout
between us. You offer it
to your woman friend
who warms her palms
on the arch of its back.
She knows too.
The moon dissolves light.
The wine sours in my mouth
so I find another room.
Soon, the ring will call my name
and I will answer just the same.
Then you will kiss me by the door,
leave me clutching my cheek
and wanting more.
Again, I’m thinking of the day
we met at the funeral,
how he squeezed into the pew,
how easy it was to dump death
There was something
about his sucked-in cheeks,
his knife-like beard,
the way he strung sin around his neck
like costly beads.
He tore me a corner of the hymnbook.
Abide with me, it said.
He said he was the second plague
that he could turn blood into water
with his pole.
I’ve come to free the captives
from the fourth commandment, he said.
To take women to the promised land,
build them lambs from golden dust
and flake them into salt.
Days doze by
and I don’t remember you.
The only charm of wifehood lies
in an old plastic box.
cheap silver wedding band.
dark line orbits it
like a nameless, unworthy moon
fingered far from the sun.
put it away months ago
when, one broken morning,
woke to find I hadn’t dreamed
of you in years. Nor cared.