After Reading Too Much Shields & Atwood

I am a man of few words.

My name
a monosyllabic
grunt:

Bruce, say,
or Matt or Joe
or Jeff.

You: immense,
surrounded by crockery pots
and children,
cookery books
and washing on the line.

Though I pay the bills,
bring home the proverbial bacon
I’m a whirling asteroid to your Jupiter,
an errant electron spinning round
your gravid nucleus.

Even yet, you wonder why
I need it so much:

why I slip my hand up your nightdress
(that you’ve gathered round yourself, for protection)
with, “If you’re willing, Mother.”

Is it five thousand times now?  Ten thousand?

Why that constant urge to thunder and let loose?

When I proposed
it was in Greason’s Hardware,
automotive parts:

“Say we get married, eh?
I make a good wage.”

Today you make a new recipe for me
—Magpie Pudding—
and when I come home from the gravel pit
my tender, male mouth drops,
my eyes express confusion and surprise,
I eat in silence, then read the paper.

For I am a man of few words.

A monosyllable.

A John, you could say.

Grunt.

– first published in The Antigonish Review

.

– next poem

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