Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Scylla & Charybdis

That longing, loving way he looks at his wife
and tells himself he can make betrayal work
the way they once made eight bucks an hour
and a rusty Hyundai work transforms her
into two monstrous problems, how to leave
while staying and vice versa. If only he could keep
the inside from the outside like a schooner
slapping waves, his heart afloat on the magnitude
of how she’ll seem the moment he lacks her
draining him, any memory a hole
even ahead of time. That’s the standard line,
a theory he finds repellent, kicks around like a dog
because he can, mad at himself for how
he treats her and blaming her for it. He’d jump
off a mountain, rob God at gunpoint
instead of hurt her. Clearly he’d rather lie than die,
which requires a map, negotiation as in rocks
to which one doesn’t speak. Today is what he does
with between, the agony of choice like two poles
he carries with him, the south and other south
of one far-flung chance, yes or now, no or ever.  

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