I got married this June, years after my family
never asked what I was waiting for.
Work and beware any love that’s jealous
of work, they meant but didn’t say, nor:
the HOV lane to misery
is marrying a charming man too early.
And they were right! Naturally,
they did not believe in divorce.
Who does? my husband says.
He’s embarrassed of his split
though not of me, and this
is a clause of our understanding.
He never thought he’d have a second wife.
I never thought marriage could feel
like a breakfast fruit, like something
I’ll get my nail under each day to peel clean.
Cathy, since your people won the House
the affordable option for health insurance
was to marry this man with benefits.
At the obstetrician’s they’ll call me geriatric,
but I’ll be covered. My husband’s body may break down,
but we’ll be covered. If, at the end of nursing him
through the final extremity we cannot today afford to imagine,
I commence my glamorous third act,
that, too, will be covered.
Is that how you imagined the women of your district?
Un-covered by their own work?
Swooning for the romance of deductibles?
For my third act I’ll need his grandmother’s furs,
I tell his mother, but silently,
like a good daughter-in-law,
putting in the time love can’t guarantee.
We’re in the magic hour, Cathy,
and we know it. I’m getting used to diamonds,
to scavenging for little pots and trays in which
they may wait while I wash my hands.
Sometimes when I’m in a hurry,
I forget to put my ring back on
and go out like that, barehanded,
like I haven’t been promised anything.
Copyright © Kate Lebo
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.