She withholds intimacy as punishment
For a series of crimes he has committed:
He dusts, but he doesn’t dust when dusting
Is required, according to her schedule.
But it is more than that. He doesn’t have
The desire to dust. That is the problem.
Whether this flaw was in him when God wove
Him in the womb is a wonder, or, perhaps,
Through evolution, his DNA deemed that
Dusting was no longer required for life
And it was yanked from him like flight from a bird
Whose meals were suddenly a short walk away.
Despite five W-2s and all those degrees,
Earned while working full-time, she calls him lazy
To those whose opinions matter most to him.
But he is too private to defend himself.
Another crime was committed on the couch
Where the drone of the TV transports him
To places poets pass through on their way to
The process of selection and rejection.
When the flesh of two become one, one’s own
Identity becomes secondary
To constant new responsibility.
And so some poets become managers
At the local Piggly Wiggly; some wait
On tables, serving those who seem content.
And some settle for happiness, knowing
Joy is unattainable in this life.
And some suppress their sorrows in strong drinks
While others drown themselves in strong waters.
The poet recognizes he is dust
While his wife is more concerned with dusting.
Donald Hall shared his wife’s lamentation:
Jane’s dying meant no more intimacy.
She was a poet, then a poet’s wife.
Thomas Locicero’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Roanoke Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Long Island Quarterly, The Good Men Project, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Jazz Cigarette, Quail Bell Magazine, Antarctica Journal, Rat’s Ass Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Hobart, Ponder Review, vox poetica, Poetry Pacific, Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal, Indigo Lit, Saw Palm, Fine Lines, New Thoreau Quarterly, Birmingham Arts Journal, Clockwise Cat, Snapdragon, fēlan, The Ghazal Page, Red Savina Review, Better Than Starbucks, Poetry Quarterly, The Write Launch, Bindweed Magazine, The Skinny Poetry Journal, Abyss & Apex, Avocet, and Speculative 66, among other journals. He lives in Broken Arrow, OK, USA.