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Guest Writer


Paris is on the patio
Marriage and the moon
by Joan-Carrol Banks

ove is cleaning the kitchen
so he can cook the dinner
so I can go to book group
so he can play half-life while I'm gone

So I clean the surfaces
the build-up on counters and floors
wiping out the deposits in the long-term resentment bank
gotta start fresh every time
as he docilely scrapes his chin to go to work
and does his own recycling
for the garbage man to take away

Love is in the actions
the favors
the patience
and the thousand forgivenesses
required to live together forever

Oh
the heart skipping a beat or two
it's nice
but nothing like having milk in the fridge for breakfast
because I took three kids grocery shopping
with the paycheck
he sweats blood to make

I'll trade romance any day
for someone who will read my mind
before even I know what it wants
someone I don't mind buying boxers for
because he's man enough to buy tampons
and lets me have the good pillow

Yes, trade it if I have to,
but he looks at me like I'm the heroine
of the screenplay he'll never get around to writing
and there's still something in him that wiggles his eyebrows at me
as I undress for bed
year after year

And the children
oh my
we made them
they're ours
she gets her temper from me
but he's why the middle one is sneaky
and no one can figure the youngest
except that his embraces are fierce
must be from us both
like it or not
it's us against them

Us against them
as we fight to remember who we were before they came

Yeah
we're boring
we don't go to Paris.
we can't spend long hours in coffee houses
gazing into each other's eyes – philosophizing

But Paris
is on the patio
in the lawn chairs
past the bricks we laid down ourselves

After all is wiped and put to bed
he drinks the elixir I pour out for him
(beer, not champagne)
and we look at the moon
he hung for me
as we argue about
who gets to die first,
leaving the other to find the missing car keys
all alone


See more from Joan-Carrol in our archives.



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