One of the Thousand
Melissa Strilecki

disappointments of marriage:
we never fall back in love
at the same time.

I reach out in the dark
and you pat my hand like a patient father.

The catch in my throat
could be nausea.

I pace the creaking hardwoods in the stove
glow, half-drunk
off that one Soul Coughing song.

I don’t know how you claim to love a song
without knowing the words.

Yes, you’ve told me of mathematicians
who are also musicians.
They hear the logic in the noise.

You are not a mathematician,
no matter how many textbooks you buy.

Four states I waited
to belt it out through Wichita,
but your inhibitions stopper my throat.

I watch you at the window,
surveying the landscape of our rote life.

I could ask, What are you thinking?
I prefer quiet.
Hopefully, it's not broken, you say.

A rhododendron has collapsed under the weight of the snow.

Melissa Strilecki has poems recently published or forthcoming in The Shore, Faultline, Gordon Square Review, and Rogue Agent. She lives in Seattle.

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