“Should I get married? Should I be good?” -Gregory Corso
You sit on my 3rd degree sofa and I stand ready
with We have to talk. The uh-oh, oh god in your widening
blue eyes stares me back in the face. Your jaw—
tense. You glance at me in silence. The lines between
your brows tighten. I think to myself I could leave.
Before we wake up together—crusty-eyed, with morning
breath— every day, month, year? Kisses will be
as exciting as milkshakes. Dirty laundry, SUV, dentist
appointments, lasagna leftovers, soccer practice? Obligatory half-
laughs answer the same old joke or anecdote. Remote control and socks
gone AWOL. No more naughty phone calls. Diaper rashes, income
taxes. Bald patches, hot flashes. The missionary position, during commercials breaks, two times a week. Little post-it notes that used to read, I love you, I miss you replaced by a quick text, Pick up some
milk or Remember to call your brother, it’s his birthday.
On my birthday, a full-length mirror that you’d hid
in Esther’s closet and a ready wrapped stack of Norton Anthologies.
But it isn’t those presents, or how you put up with my less than savory PMS moments, or how you laugh at my morning monster hair. It isn’t the expensive wear-it-once white dress, the counters of gleaming carats to choose from, the official seal of one’s approval. It could be the honeymoon to Zanzibar, referring to you as “my husband,” our peers’ disapproval. Partnership and cohabitation, oh-so 1995. I smile.
We’re already fat and happy and prepared to grow old together.
Why not get married? Why not?
The cashews had ended up
in the toilet and there were forks
in the freezer. Empty and half-finished
beer cans under the table. Another party
over. With a stare and sigh, she pulled
on her rubber gloves.
Last night I dreamt about eating well-done steaks and then growing
a long moustache and a soft beard. You laughed,
pressed your forefinger under my nose and tickled my chin.
You asked me if I remembered Robert Wells from high school. You said,
“Robert loved Alice— the Chinese poet, who couldn't shave her legs
because her parents wouldn't allow it.”