You must know
You must know there are times
I will not choose you over the poem;
nor your email, text or pouting silence
over the verse;
Bulging zippers will not sway me
nor swollen suitcases by the entrance.
If you want to be first in someone’s life
you must know, it can never be mine.
I'll never be the faithful wife
skinning vegetables at the sink;
a gimlet eye’d grandmother supervising,
starched apron and recipe splayed
submissively across the counter -
contents spooned carefully;
the roast, flayed, awaiting its wake -
attendees of potatoes and carrots
following into the heated pyre.
I'll never be the faithful mistress
in a négligée holding a drowning olive
after a cocktail party --
alarm at attention so we don’t oversleep
alerting your wife to your late absence.
I'll be in the tub with the poem instead;
gluttonous ink splashing imagery
over its porcelain skin with each spit
of candle and stroke of pen.
You must know, in bed I'll fantasize
about the poem, how it carried me
shielding my isolated survival
from extinction, while hunted
by laundered mindsets
firm in sects of belief.
You must know the poem
is 'One Hundred Years of Solitude',
a plantation abandoned by death;
it’s 'All the archived Names'
without Ariadne’s Thread;
the Life that Pi actually dreamt
'The Shipping News' reporting anthologies
modern American beats underground;
it’s 'Water for Chocolate' torched
by match heads; it's 'Midnight
in the Garden of Good and Evil';
it's Romeo; it's Juliette.
You must know, that if betrayed
by lies or entrapment I will escape
elope, even commit suicide
before captured alive;
we’ll die together, deeply inhaling afterlife
as Plath – taping your sleeping existence
away from us, towels caulking the frame;
and you, you must know
you'll wake lonelier than you’ve ever been.