What I Mean To Say But Haven’t (draft 4)

After Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Survivorman”

Here’s a truth: the first time your husband kissed me up against my car
after dinner at that Mexican dive, I kept my eyes open and watched
an old man hold the door for his wife, stooped behind her walker.

Here’s a lie: I believed him when he said it wasn’t
as if you were really married, as he had been separated
from you for a year, by couch and queen-sized bed.

Here are some facts: though I may have bought him the green toothbrush
beside the sink so he’d stop using mine, most days I see it
I forget why it’s there. But I smile when it brings back the memory
of the first time he cooked with garlic; we spent five minutes taking turns
trying to scrub the taste out of our tongues. When you and I
had a parent-teacher meeting to discuss how your little boy runs
around the playground pulling all the girls’ pigtails, I wanted to tell you
the man who is still– technically– your husband wasn’t
at work, but picking up ingredients for chili to make at my apartment.
And whenever I see the toilet seat up, I imagine a stranger has broken in.


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