Miss Needles & the Divorce
Nerves laced over him like blisters: Mr. Hypochondriac
in the bedroom. Of pools and fact and spume and tact.
He had none of it. Lace nerving against her chest
like glue. In every nativity, he pictured himself
in the manger, too. She saw him standing at the gates
of One Screw Loose. He spat intellect, wading in ego.
He wore suede, sewed business cards, sang manifestoes--
My wife with a collarbone like a second hand, with a hand
like the Finger Lakes. In the basement of the flood,
she finally felt safe. Outside clouds hung
like dumb monks. Miles spun from her clumped dot.
She was ineffable, he was uneffable, and so the braid
of their marriage became a black knot. Like a seizure,
an anvil, his temper plaquing sweat. Do you have
to be erect to love like that, or just a wreck?
135 The Paris-American
Melissa Barrett's poems have been published or are forthcoming in Narrative, Animal Shelter, Web Conjunctions, and Best New Poets 2013. She is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in Poetry and a Gold Standard Teaching Award for her efforts toward closing the achievement gap. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.
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