Monday, July 13, 2015

Marriage Fee



I can see your face.
Your eyes start off shiny, filling, and all those arrogant, hard lines crumble.
Bunched eyebrows, raw, red cheeks, and wet beard hair.
If geese could keen, everyone would know what your sobs sound like.
You can’t be right and know everything with loose, mucus-coated lips.
I am repulsed when you clutch at me.
A drunk stranger, hugging me so hard I have to concentrate to keep my balance.
A frat boy whose head I don’t want between my breasts.
A modern greek hero finding his mommy down my pants, humping and moaning away all his feelings of abandonment and inadequacy on a misdialed call to adventure.

When you blow your nose and hack, I feel sick to my stomach.
How did I ever sign the marriage contract?
You’d think an Ojibwe would know better than to make an agreement in writing with a white man
-- but that’s a whole other poem.

When you blow your nose and hack, I feel sick to my stomach.
All those days and nights of listening to you hawk and spit,
because you smoked your money, all that sticky icky, because life was too real for you.
Presses of too many bodies, rush hour traffic in Minnesota weather, and less-intelligent-than you humans in your workplace.
You weren’t willful - life was unfair.
It was coffee, hand ground and weighed in ounces, percolating,
or it was a slow-draw lunger, ziplocked and exchanged in a backseat, bubbling;
sober life was too real for you.
You in your jiu jitsu gi or your muay thai shorts, floppy hair, no glasses, panting around your mouthguard,
hot-shit, man’s-man, an aggro-attitude martial artist.
You can stand toe to toe and win when you lose, but only when the fight doesn’t matter.

You’re well-educated and well-trained,
in a university job, in an ambulance, in a mma ring,
but in a marriage, in a home, in an abused woman’s life?
You’re just one more tally mark,
one more natural disaster,
one more close call, near miss, mistake, misogynist.

Recalling your face hits me like rock thrown down a wishing well,
and I can’t wait for the tides of life to race in and wash out every trace of your life where it bisected mine,
every bong-water kiss, every daddy-I-never-wanted talking-to, every long, hard cry to four empty walls while you huffed and puffed at the foot of my bed and said I couldn’t ignore your argument.

I want you to know I missed myself more than I will ever miss you,
and now that our marriage is over, I can love myself more than anyone ever has.

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