The Ancient Modern
The Writer’s Wife / Joshua Alan Sturgill
She reads carefully, scoffs, and says he’s lying.
Because the words within the book can’t be her lover’s.
From him, she hears wordless acknowledgements, or brief
statements about household doings, or nothing.
The sensual hope left long ago, accidentally packed up
in a box of donations bound for the thrift store.
She expected gifts. She expected exclusivity. After
the dress was returned to its long plastic sleeve,
and the flowers thrown out with the garbage
and the ceremony caught and caged in a pewter frame,
she expected no surprises. But here, spread out on
countless pages for strangers she will never meet:
these graphic, intimate, tender words. She feels betrayed,
and yet there is no crime. Only a print confession.
But it wasn’t whispered to her, never heard it, though
the mouth that offered it sleeps close. She smells
that murky breath in the dark alone, while others
hear a kind of perfume, rising soundless and joyful
from pages she once might have loved to read.
2 thoughts on “The Writer’s Wife”
Our partners get the best and worst of who we are all of the time. With marriage, much of our secret-self leaves forever. Just yesterday, while my wife was cooking dinner, I was taking care of a to-remain-unnamed issue and I apologized to her, as it was embarrassing to me. Her reply was perfect: “Not everything is wine and roses.” A simple statement, sure, but one which put me at ease in that moment. It’s the sharing of who we are in tender moments that allows us to share more of ourselves than might be possible otherwise. We’re given freedom to share more because we have more to share.
Nice work, Joshua.