by Carolyn Kizer (1984)
Now, when he and I meet, after all these years,
I say to the bitch inside me, don’t start growling.
He isn’t a trespasser anymore,
Just an old acquaintance tipping his hat.
My voice says, “Nice to see you,”
As the bitch starts to bark hysterically.
He isn’t an enemy now,
Where are your manners, I say, as I say,
“How are the children? They must be growing up.”
At a kind word from him, a look like the old days,
The bitch changes her tone; she begins to whimper.
She wants to snuggle up to him, to cringe.
Down, girl! Keep your distance
Or I’ll give you a taste of the choke-chain.
“Fine, I’m just fine,” I tell him.
She slobbers and grovels.
After all, I am her mistress. She is basically loyal.
It’s just that she remembers how she came running
Each evening, when she heard his step;
How she lay at his feet and looked up adoringly
Though he was absorbed in his paper;
Or, bored with her devotion, ordered her to the kitchen
Until he was ready to play.
But the small careless kindnesses
When he’d had a good day, or a couple of drinks,
Come back to her now, seem more important
Than the casual cruelties, the ultimate dismissal.
“It’s nice to know you are doing so well,” I say.
He couldn’t have taken you with him;
You were too demonstrative, too clumsy,
Not like the well-groomed pets of his new friends.
“Give my regards to your wife,” I say. You gag
As I drag you off by the scruff,
Saying, “Goodbye! Goodbye! Nice to have seen you again.”
Thursday, March 10, 2011
David Levithan's book "The Lover's Dictionary" is a true poem, some even call it a prolonged haiku. I sipped every word hoping I would not have to finish it so soon; I even allowed myself only a few definitions a day in order not to spoil their beauty by taking in too much. When the book ended I wanted to wrap myself up in half the definitions so I would not forget them. Then, I remembered I had a blog :)
* AUTONOMY, n.
"I want my books to have their own shelves," you said, and that's how I knew it would be okay to live together.
* CORRODE, v.
I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.
* HUBRIS, n.
Every time I call you mine, I feel like I'm forcing it, as if saying it can make it so. As if I'm reminding you, and reminding the universe: mine. As if that one word from me could have that kind of power.
* QUALM, n.
There is no reason to make fun of me for flossing twice a day.
* YEARNING, n./adj.
At the core of this desire is the belief that everything can be perfect.