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A successful man and his beautiful wife
are asking me where I spend my summers
as if they haven’t noticed the holes
in the shoulders of my only good sweater,
which I’ve never washed because it’s dry-clean only.
What I mean is an intelligent man,

an important man, a powerful man
is asking his closed-lipped-smiling wife
if she recalls the year when they only
ate grapes and fresh-caught fish all summer,
and she reminds him how they threw on sweaters
over swimsuits and strolled to the swimming holes.

Another woman is trying to fill the holes
I’m leaving in our chat, she asks the man
about his work (I pick at my sweater),
and he drops the hand of his stunning wife
to lean forward and swear that this summer
he plans to finish writing the only
book worth writing, which means it’ll only

be legible with a PhD. The holes
in my respectful smile betray a summer
or two without braces. I grin at the man,
who seems to forget his unforgettable wife,
who only eyes me and smiles sweeter.

Maybe if I wore different sweaters,
or had worn those braces, even for only
a year, I could be an inimitable wife
letting go of a hand and only made whole
by the smile of an impossible man
with whom I pass my miserable life summering

somewhere that important people summer,
even though I hate the heat, I’d probably sweat
too much and stain all my fancy shirts, and the man

would reassure me it was fine only
for me to wake up to a human-sized hole
in our foreign bed, what a terrible wife

I would make for a man, what awful summers,
what awful wives, what awful books, sweaters,
what awful, awful, only barely visible, holes.


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