Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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In The Show We’ve Been Watching The Unloved Beautiful

wife is pretty as a wedding cake.
Think Wasp perfection,

Hitchcock’s doomed blondes.
Like them, she knows something’s up,

but this time she’s not snooping,
just “tidying up,” as women

did then, & when she finds
in her unfaithful husband’s robe

pocket a brass key, she knows
at once where it fits. They’re rich

enough for a paneled study, a man’s
mahogany desk—everything

is gendered, this is the early ’60s—
& there she finds his divorce

papers, old photographs, a birth
certificate that says her name

is a lie. & I thought of you, Mother,
& how you were like her,

though you had no desk or study
in that Flatbush walkup you shared

with my father, just tidying up,
when under his rolled socks

& Ban-Lon shirts you found his cache
of Air Corps discharge papers,

the vain & foolish lies—his rank
Second Lieutenant, not Major,

that he’d been a navigator, not
a bombardier. Grace Kelly’s look-

alike will scream & tear
at her too-handsome husband’s face,

then leave him for the life-raft lover
he’ll slap her over, but you,

Mother, closed that cheap deal
drawer softly, like the door

to a room you were leaving for good,
like the lid to a wind-filled jar.  

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