Because you have three kids, two dogs, and a pet
python, none of which are over the age of five.
Because you spend every spare minute scouring
the internet for articles about the negative effects
of binary gender norms to work into your
dissertation, and I wouldn’t want to impose.
Because you live in a 100-year-old farmhouse
without central air, storm windows, or
reliable running water.
Because to get there would be to take a five-hour
train ride to Ithaca, followed by a two-hour
bus trip, and a little hitchhiking.
Because your spouse has no idea who I am.
Because I cried when you left, and spent
the next six months making mix tapes to capture
my emotions: the Untouchable Face mix, the
Professional Widow mix, the Damn, I Wish
I Was Your Lover mix.
Because there is no number of civil phone
conversations that can heal this ancient scar.
Because the first writing professor I showed
this poem to assumed it was about a man
and I wasn’t brave enough to correct her.
Because all these years later we’re still
holding on to secrets like keepsakes
just to remind ourselves
we once took a chance.
Carla Criscuolo is the author of Pedestrian Traffic (Finishing Line, 2015). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Main Street Rag, Boston Literary Magazine, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Stepping Stones Magazine, and Amarillo Bay. On Twitter, people call her @PoeticCarla.