Jealousy (and name dropping)

In only thirty consecutive lines  
Both Iago and Othello said all  
There is to be said concerning jealousy.  
Yet both failed conspicuously to deal  
With the monster. What then are our chances?  
My beloved's jealous outbursts struck hard  
On mention of any female first name.  
Her unvarying reaction haunted:  
"Did you fuck her? No? I don't believe you"  
I tried ridicule- interdispersing  
Names historical and literary,  
Undoubted virgins with sex godesses,  
Harlots and the primly conventional.  
Though impossible, her retort changed little:  
"Did you fuck her? No? I don't believe you."  
Helen of Troy, warrior Boudica;  
Sweet Doll Tearsheet and Catherine the Great;  
Pocohontas, Elizabeth Bennet;  
Emma Hamilton (but not the Emmas  
Bovary or Woodhouse- just in case she  
Suspected predilection for Emmas);  
Miss Havisham and the Mata Hari;  
Mae West- sometimes the Duchess of Argyll;  
Mother Teresa (a risk, knowing mums)  
And Margaret Thatcher (but leaving out  
The Virgin Mary in a deference  
To her then lapsed Catholic upbringing).  
The riposte had become Pavlovian  
"Did you fuck her? No? I don't believe you".  
I pondered upon revenge. If she thinks  
That I'm doing it, then I may as well.  
Until I recalled a marital row  
Between my Arab friends. She:" I'm fed up  
With you. Why don't you take a second wife  
To halve the burden on me." He:"No way  
I might end up with another like you."  
Perhaps, I thought, jealousy is only  
A camouflage for her misdeeds. Should I  
Occupy the moral heights and ignore,  
Or take my chances and lay the blame on  
Her charges as self-fulfilling prophecies.  
When she was calm and rational,I said  
"You've known me all these years. Do you believe  
I would  seek to hunt down other women?"  
Her reply: "I trust you in that matter.  
It is other women I do not trust.  
And because I know you, far too well, then  
I know you are too polite to say no."  
I could have asked. Had she no heard, by chance,  
That " Unfortunately, I must say no  
Though I am flattered by you offer"  
Is reserved for pushy street walkers.  
Or that hidden pitfalls should be foreseen  
And countered by a gracious farewell.  
I must admit I brought it on myself  
My weakness was unremitting desire  
Her Cleopatra made hungry the more  
She satisfied. She may have concluded  
That this unquenchable lust was transferable,  
Assuming that she wasn't incomparable.  
I failed to convince of the contrary.  
My love was deep, and though I would often  
Ask myself "Why?", I could not overcome  
Was her jealousy a warped signal  
Of reciprocation; or a weapon  
In the struggle for control? I never knew.
Written by marthard
Published | Edited 4th Jan 2014
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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