Some tea please? It’s no request; you drink too much.

Get these done, baby? Done always

    like only a wife can do them—

some days now, years away from Us, the smell

of armpits from dry-cleaned shirts weighing a ton,

hanging from my stick arms, still hit me and I hear

your questions. Baby, can we make love?

I’ve said Okay, sometimes adding Baby without love.

Words wouldn’t’t come. How to tell the truth—

Beg you. Order you. Or place a written request

under your coffee mug one day at 5am:

    Let me go, baby, will you? 

Once, while attacking the walls, you screamed What

Do You Want. Silence can be a tireless stream.

I got the annulment. But this dull ache sits in the small

of my small back. From your finger prodding each day

before the birds could sing. You needed coffee or tea.

    You had needs\. There was no rest\. And

I would’ve let the river swallow up my life

with you in a country where extremes are natural—

bitter winters and heartrending summers far from home.

But I learnt not to because it was the river that did it

once upon a time, somewhere in Hong Kong. Or maybe

it was the shrimp cakes and the cruise. Maybe the lightshow

locked arms with your domineering and I had no clue.

After everything, baby, I can tell you all I’ve ever wanted

and couldn’t have was lightness because somehow

I married you. Somehow I said Yes and a river was witness.