Thursday, 2 April 2020

The Wife

by Cynthia Anderson

It’s always the same fight,
and it ends the same way—
I slam the door, jangle my keys,
mumble, No more. I’m done.

I drive fast and far, fly down
bumpy dirt roads, scrape bottom.
Turn off lights and engine,
tell the stars, I’ll never...

I sleep till coyotes howl
then open the door and almost
step on a stinkbug or kangaroo rat.
That’s that. I head back to

my soaps and chores. My kids
don’t show up—why would they?
To watch him on another bender
while I hide in the bedroom?

Ann Landers used to ask, Are you
better off with him, or without him?
I know the answer to that one.
That’s why the next time,

I make sure. I take my pills
with me—all of them. He waits
three days to call the cops, says
She always came home before.

You might think I’m a loser—
but I called his bluff and
made him sweat. So I win.
In my heaven,

there’s no creosote—
only evergreens,
meadows, waterfalls.
I’ll never go home.

* * * * *

Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she is the author of nine poetry collections. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows &

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