Just Say What Bothers You, or He Won’t Know
Rocking back and
forth in the hammock in their backyard
with glass bottles
is her husband, Bobby. He’s unemployed now,
but putting in
applications at the mills. He promised this
to Diana, and
she believes he will eventually. But, there’s
nothing to do
about that promise on Sunday, so in humid,
midday sun he rests,
inebriated and blissful. Diana steps back
from sun glare
off the kitchen sink and then turns
to their child,
sleeping on the living room rug so peacefully
that Diana forgets
(for a moment) a time before this
when she was
so happy when awake. He belches then,
and their child,
which Diana has named Temperance for reasons
she would not
tell him, (even when he threatened her),
awakens in hiccups
to the loud, unnatural sound she heard.
She takes her
and the baby’s eyes, bright and blue,
look on, confused
by this new function of her tiny frame.
Diana notices then
that her child looks nothing like her,
but him, sending
a pang of grief into her heart.
Diana hugs her
daughter tight, mostly to stop the hiccups,
but also to
stop her own tears from flowing, tears
which cannot come.
They mustn’t; not in front of her child
which doesn’t know
what it means to live out lies yet.
Temperance giggles happily,
and Diana looks to see her husband
looking on, hands
hipped. That dangerously smooth smile on his
lips says everything.
Staring a moment, she wonders how
long he watched.
Temperance was cooing–she loves him.
So Diana smiles
too, but the smile, forced, just twitches.