my wife told me to go fuck myself.
I detested the closed petals, the hidden corollas
folded like a carapace, not letting
the light beam in, the lilies not quite as ripe—
off white, premature, just a plant, unopened to the world.
I could feel them hissing in their embryos,
with what eyes will they take me in
when they blossom?
She said “the friend” gave them to her.
What concerns me is not the gift.
She put them down on the table in the den,
right next to the divorce papers.
My signature remains unsigned.
There is a space in my heart where I walk down a spiral staircase
to play chess with my ego.
I do this every time my manhood’s challenged and it doesn’t matter where I am.
Ego sits across from me waiting for my move.
I push the bishop diagonally on his queen. Get him.
I know what’s going on.
He checkmates me silently.
What does losing do? What will loss make of us?
Perhaps it is natural to have lost.
It is a terrifying realization: defeat is not the same as loss.
My wife, our love, in the waters
of someone else’s Belladonnas.
She used to smile more; her face would open to me.
Her arms cuffed in mine, we’d let the night dream us.
She likes to yell now, the kind of pitch that encloses me.
A chime that cloaks my presence, I too fold in.
I vase myself in the broken glass of what was once between us.
I block out the world and enter into that oblivion. And time doesn’t matter.
How does the mind know what to do with pain?
I look at my wife and she is red in the face,
subatomic particles of saliva flying out of her mouth.
She points towards the divorce papers, screaming,
her words pulled back by her tongue before they whip out of her.
I imagine the Belladonnas sprouting open
outgrowing our world.
And still I see the face of my wife inside that hard shell.
[From Confrontation 117]