How Many Lovers

Jewish law says a man may acquire a wife
in three steps: with money with contract or
with sex. Medieval Catholics agree: no woman
controls her virginity. Like the old saying:
eshet chayil ateret balalah: a husband’s crown
is his woman of valor. If this is the case,
how many wives have I been in this life?
How many times have I given myself over
to the pleasures of what some call sin
with the rouge of my cheeks, pout of my lips,
or a wink? Save for the few nights I slept
alone, I can count on two hands those
who considered me home. I do not have
enough limbs to consider the men who snuck
a look at my tits when they thought I wouldn’t
notice. On more than one occasion I noticed
but didn’t do a thing. I have to wonder
why I love this body so much, why
I give it worth. These days, I like to think
about the way my hips carry anything I fling
on them: backpacks, jackets, nieces and nephews
and the hands of my husband when we
sleep like an S in early morning fighting
the urge to wake. Who will save me
from myself is the type of thinking
that gets women in trouble. I want the rush
of blood from the heartbeat of sincerity.
They want it all, the lamb and the meat.

Abriana Jetté’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in River Teeth, PLUME, Barrelhouse, and many other places. She is the editor of the 50 Whispers: Poems by Extraordinary Women anthology series, which debuted as a #1 best-seller on Amazon. She teaches at St. John’s University and the City University of New York.

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One Response to How Many Lovers

  1. J. K. says:

    The final line was delicious. What gorgeous prose, how the message strikes!

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