Your blond ex-wife grows callouses on her sleeves.
When you walked into the room she stiffened.
You swallowed overcooked anger,
years and years of her,
like a secret to be hidden from the enemy.
Your anger eats away your hands, the glutton battery acid
running down your shoes.
You measure friends by how much venom
they take out and show.
You cannot see your own.
It rises near the surface of your skin,
lives along the seams of you and bakes your blood.
She is wrinkled in your memory.
You are hungry for one long look at her face.
You vented all your anger in a dream one night.
When the light came in you panted prayers
thanking God the real you was so tame.
Your blond ex-wife grows callouses on her fingers, and is trying
to razor all the deadened skin away.
She cannot decide whether to go out in the rain without them,
knowing you are out there gathering thunder to your breast.
Sheila E. Murphy
SHEILA E. MURPHY lists her "true occupation" as poet, but works as a corporate educator for purposes of sustenance. She is also a lifelong flutist.
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