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So here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriage

might work: because you wear pink but write poems

about bullets and gravestones. Because you yell

at your keys when you lose them, and laugh,

loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol,

gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercials

from thirty years back and sing them when vacuuming.

You have soft hands. Because when we moved, the contents

of what you packed were written inside the boxes.

Because you think swans are overrated and kind of stupid.

Because you drove me to the train station. You drove me

to Minneapolis. You drove me to Providence.

Because you underline everything you read, and circle

the things you think are important, and put stars next

to the things you think I should think are important,

and write notes in the margins about all the people

you’re mad at and my name almost never appears there.

Because you make that pork recipe you found

in the Frida Kahlo cookbook. Because when you read

that essay about Rilke, you underlined the whole thing

except the part were Rilke says love means to deny the self

and to be consumed in flames. Because when the lights

are off, the curtains drawn, and an additional sheet is nailed

over the windows, you still believe someone outside

can see you. And one day five summers ago,

when you couldn’t put gas in your car, when your fridge

was so empty-not even leftovers or condiments

there was a single twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew,

which you paid for with your last damn dime

because you once overheard me say that I liked it.

from MezzaninesFind more by Matthew Olzmann at the library

Copyright © 2013 Matthew Olzmann
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Matthew Olzmann Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.