Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Flash in the Pan

For the NaPoWriMo Challenge #8, for the "Old Flames prompt," for national poetry month at ReadWritePoem:

Flash in the Pan

Barbara screamed, pointed at me, and everyone turned to look.

She screamed and screamed, pointed and flailed. Her face turned

scarlet. The thirty children who had gathered around me gaped at her,

all of us standing as still as if we were staring at Medusa, until my boss

found someone else to teach them and secreted me away with Barbara.

I shrank. Disappeared into a knot of thorns that tightened around me.

In the news, only that morning, a crazed wife had killed her husband

and his lover. But in private, Barbara's maniacal frenzy abated;

she spoke quietly. Fingers released their threatened hold on my neck

and I took a breath and another.

I still wanted her to disappear and take Gordon with her. Forever.

Before our first kiss, I'd asked him: "Are you married,

are you engaged, are you in a relationship?"

"No, no, no," he said, and he lied. I believed him. He wore no ring.

I tend to trust. I'd welcomed him

into my home, my heart and then my bed. But they were engaged,

and then they married. After he lied,

after he cheated, they married. He probably blamed it on me.

If I were her, I'd have been as angry, but never

would have married Gordon. She told me, in tears:

he'd cheated before. Said he saw other woman

when he was with me, too, Cheated us both.

Cheat once, cheat again. I so would not have married

Gordon that he was the first step toward a vow of celibacy

One year, then another and then a third. And on to ten. Barbara married

a cheat. I married silence, peace and a spacious

empty bed.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

090415-2212-3b; 090414-1115-2b; 090413-2252-1d; 090313-1602-1st

This poem has long lines which don't translate well into blog format.

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