She asks me why I left.
Was I too mean? Were my ribs too many?
Was the drummer too loud,
the engineer too simple, the tragedy too far away?
Was the fresh air too high up? Was Willie too dead?
You were mean, I tell her, but so was I. Sometimes
you’d lunge at me and claw and scream, but I
would have done the same, would have
scratched my name into your back and torn your hair out
had it not been winter, had the lake and sky and land
not gone on and on.
Your ribs were many, but I stood with you
in front of our mirror, fanning our bellies in and out
like accordions, like all women before us, like all women
after us. The drummer and the engineer and the tragedy:
Oh, they were kind and made me laugh
loud and steady. I hated them all.
The fresh air was taller than I could
reach and I had to resign myself to loudly
shouting Mine! Mine! to anyone who was listening.
And Willie? He was gone before we knew he had left, lying
in the water with his eyes closed, going away
to spit sunflower seeds and sketch forever and ever.