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
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.