The Rusty Toque | Issue 4 | Poetry | February 15, 2013
MARRIED MAN 2
He arrives unbidden, unbound, desire
disrobed. When he leaves just as
abruptly, it's an unteaching, a way
to unlearn greed. This is the hardest
thing, to uncling, knowing as I do that
the public man is an opportunist, a flirt.
That's right. Our municipality's halls
and bodegas are full of delights, but
the bond between us denies exclusion.
Every day he goes home to his wife.
MARRIED MAN 3
You sound strung out, a cataclysm at home,
tired and torn. And then no word from you
in the following days. I worry, not that you
won't leave her, but that you will. Forgive her.
She is the buckle that keeps us coupled. To go
public would wreck this, to date like the other
unfortunates, disgracing the faux ivied booths
of Brewbaker's, a movie at the abysmal mall.
When it blows over, you send a teasing line
that tells me you want me from where you are,
ten blocks down, across the hall from your wife.
MARRIED MAN 5
My unwritten rule
is that I ask
of you. Some would
or bristle, but no
no regret. No grievance
to rue. A
and, in that, humbling,
the nurses gave me
of me, caring
not for particulars,
but for the Ithaca
that's in us all.
MARRIED MAN 8
That haphazard encounter on the sidewalk,
he in a suit, hurrying somewhere commercial,
me walking my polka dot dog. Mindful of the
optics, both of us well known in our diminutive
polis, we merely chat, a word without touching,
a few steps in tandem, and the casualest of partings,
no Orphic glances. Two slobs, like all the others
who never knew how they never knew each other
MARRIED MAN 9
The first time, each of us in awe, madness
in your vehicle. Nothing, really. We've all
known such insanity. And, yet, when it
happens, memory is erased, the old restrictions,
defeats and denials, uprooted, unearthing
a new altruism in the loamy ditches. How
magnanimous we are in the seamy after-
math, both of us voicing concern for your
wife, while your ejaculate silvers my skin.
MARRIED MAN 26
Never having been here before, how can
I pretend to know what will happen next?
I did not respond to his last. He does not
write or call. An end of it, I tell myself,
but even that is grasping.
The desire for finality being a function
of desire's perpetuity, how it inheres.
The way the anorexic tries to kill hunger
by not eating, I try to conquer loneliness
by not loving. But war never works.
I've been cold. I've been thin.
SHARON MCCARTNEY is the author of For and Against (2010, Goose Lane Editions), The Love Song of Laura Ingalls Wilder (2007, Nightwood Editions), Karenin Sings the Blues (2003, Goose Lane Editions) and Under the Abdominal Wall (1999, Anvil Press). Hard Ass, a new collection of poetry, is forthcoming from Palimpsest Press in Spring 2013. In 2008, she received the Acorn/Plantos People's Prize for poetry for The Love Song of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick.