Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wives – Nov. 2008


Don’t be upset –
you’re the ones they really choose
You come first and last
We are just in the middle
a perpetual middle
and not the whole middle
just a piece of it
a diversion, an
entertaining bite
Don’t be jealous –
they can’t live on us without you
they won’t subsist
We’re just the sinful dessert
the forbidden snacking
while you’re the
main course
the substance
the meat
the sustenance,
we’re just sugar,
chocolate frosting,
potato chips
Don’t be selfish –
you get the legal benefits,
the respect
the ring
we get a few dollars
a few outings
a few meals
You want them all to
yourself? All the
money and entertainment
to yourself?
We only take a nibble
You get the full protection
You get the stability
We’re just tottering on waves
Let us have some of the pie
Though we’ll never be
legitimate or recognized,
let your husbands enjoy
themselves with us.
Give them a break
and us a night out
And don’t shirk
your responsibility -
things they would
never dare do with you
they expect of us;
they can always
count on us
because they can’t
count on you.
But we don’t have a
claim on them,
we don’t really count -
What title do we have?
What will our
Gravestones say?
We are hidden
You are public
They can talk of you
in strong, confident tones –
“My wife, my wife…”
while we must be
whispered if uttered
at all.
Be glad you are spoken,
written, acknowledged.
Be glad for visibility,
for ownership.
Be glad you can have
real children with them.
How would we explain it?
To our friends?
To our family?
To our children?
We can’t even talk
about your husbands
unless to others like us.
If our friends knew,
people from church,
what would they do?
Condemn us and
disown us.
We must always
be vague:
“I’m working late”
“I’m seeing other friends tonight”
“My job takes all my time”
“Oh, no one gave it to me.”
You get to say
“my husband.”
We don’t get to
say “my” anything. Yet
you use them just as
we do, only your
payment is far greater.
So don’t complain.
Don’t simmer in anger.
We get them off
your hands for a few
hours or a few nights.
And we can never
muster a headache.
We must always be “on.”
Waiting for them.
Worth their time and money.
We are cut no slack.
So cut us some.
Interest and patience
lost in us rarely return,
while we merely
temporarily replace
their lost interest in you
for but a morsel of time,
being chewed and
digested with no
guarantee of a
Your payment and
status are fairly
Ours exist only
in the dark room
where time and light
threaten our very safety.
So don’t whimper.
You know they’ll always
come home to you
Maybe not tonight
or tomorrow
or even next week
but they’re yours.
They already chose you
for good.
So let them choose us
for evil.

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