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.