Waiting tables, dyeing textiles, separating goats in heat
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He never listens to my dreams. “Dreams
aren’t real,” he says dismissively. And he’d prefer it
if I filled out a rebate for a toothbrush instead of starting another
poem. I complain he reads too many mystery novels, that he
cat naps, wastes time, never gets around to fixing things.
“Like what?” Like the back door that won’t lock anymore,
so whenever we’re out at a movie, I sit there the whole time
worrying how someone’s cleaning us out.
He goes to bed three hours before I do and wakes
when it’s still dark. We watch each other sleep. Like a pair of
sentries. He sets out early every morning on a three-mile walk.
Once, I tried to go along, but he was so quick and disciplined,
it was no fun at all. If I stopped to say something about
the dew on the spiders’ webs, or how the loosestrife was purpling
the drainage ditches, he was already a hundred yards ahead.
When I ask if he has any goals left, he always answers, “Sex.”
But can I mention the evening when we saw a fox
leading her three skinny kits up the yellow line
in the middle of Route 13? And how, two hours later,
while we were eating supper, he said, “I know what you’re
brooding about — you want to go back and feed them.”
We took a dozen eggs and a can of spam that a friend once
brought to a brunch instead of wine. And as I stumbled behind,
he pushed through the brush and found both of the den holes:
one under a snarl of thorns at the edge of the cornfield,
and the other around the corner, on Rock City Road.
“I don’t give a damn about them,” he said. “It’s you
I worry about. And, just so you should know, I’m doing this
for sex.” So what am I supposed to say when my artist friends
ask, “How can anyone stay married so long?” Can I bring up
love? Can I use that word in the twenty-first century?
Instead I say, “We like the same movies.”