Stefan J. Broidy | Why they fight

                                          Though she’s dressed for the theater, and sang
to herself with pleasure ten minutes before;
he goes suddenly surly, without a reason.
She chides him cheerfully, gently cajoles,
and then again; but he’s fractious and cross.
She feels herself flare, and paints him as ass in
vivid detail.

So, since the theater is
out, he has ruined her evening and wasted
an hour for which she could scarcely
spend time. Back in jeans, again at her work,
she replays the scene (more powerful dialogue;
full soundtrack): her phrasing more
biting (a blare of trumpet); his eyes
flickering, falling into guilt. That evening
they do not speak;

the distance between them
stretches the walls. In bed, as he crawls
in late, she radiates rejection: Let him try
to touch me, she thinks, and he does not.
Her dreams, waking or touching uneasily
on sleep, are angry, and right: I owe
no apology, after all I have done.
Her ire is live and vibrant
most of the night.

Still in darkness,
he rises, mumbling softly. She is just
awake, bleary but warm
at last.  When he returns, slipping
carefully beneath the sheet, she extends
to him a tentative knee.  He goes very still,
as though asleep or suddenly alert.
Still, they do not speak.

The day is pathetic
with rain and wind; and he leaves her early,
an all day drive. He wishes her–
how to interpret?—a wonderful day.
Through mist, she watches him fade; then,
because of the full day ahead, and the
ache that is moving between her throat
and chest, she dials his cell. Though he does
not answer, she leaves the message:
You drive carefully.

Steve Broidy is an Emeritus Professor of Education at both Missouri State University and Wittenberg University. He is the editor of the recent anthology From the Tower: Poetry in Honor of Conrad Ballet (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2016). His poems have appeared in The Midwest Review, Dark Matter, The Resurrectionist, Allegro Poetry Magazine, and Amethyst.

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