I’ve been living with someone
who is good but a lover, an ex-con
hunk’s back in town. It doesn’t
matter he’s been dead for decades.
Or the man I’m with now never
knew him, except in poems he
hates me to read or even include
in collected poems. Gone so long
even the other women he cast
a spell on have stopped writing me,
wanting to suck out every detail
of his days with me. Some were so
sure he was the most enchantingly
dangerous but desirous man. If
I didn’t have one photograph
of him scanned, I’d never remember
his face or how we spent afternoons
together, how I rushed to flush
the toilet after his cigarette butts
before my husband came home and
I left tins of lasagna for him when
he lived in the trees. Now, I don’t think
there was enough for a whole
book, just a few very strong poems.
I tell my best friend that lately
he’s been calling. Nothing could more
easily ruin my life. I un-list my
lips but he keeps texting . My friend
warns me but I can’t quite
close the door and then, before I’ve
done anything, there’s this moment with
this man I am with. I’m two flights
above a staircase that curves
around on a lower floor and he stares
at me coldly. It was as if I’d already
done something. Ice in his eyes
that are usually smiling and I know
I’ve strayed, gone into this fantasy
am about to turn to stone