The Marriage

It is hung as wet laundry on the line,
drying off in the sun,
caked with silt driven by the wind
deep into the fibers, gray-brown to the eye
and gritty to the touch.

There is blood in the edges
where the bleeding could not be stemmed
as the wound was too wide, and infected,
which explains the yellow splotches
surrounding the burnt red stain.

You cannot reach it to haul it in, it waves over an abyss
and the wheels that crank the cord inward
are frozen with amber rust
in unintended echo of the bloody fabric
now swinging in a flat sheet against the wind.

I stripped it, long ago, off her mind,
bearing as it did the scars of many injustices,
disrespects, unfair assumptions,
self-sustaining prejudices, angered impulses,
detritus of three decades together, and at war.

She moves naked now, her maimed mind exposed
to the view of unseen witnesses.
She is so long oppressed that she does not care.
Shame is an alien concept, inconsequential
as the dirty linen of her life, stiff and sullied in the wind.

I am reminded of what I have contributed,
committed, convened, convoked, concocted, created
while looking straight ahead at my own road.
Sometimes, glimpsed realizations are revealed in pain
which leads me simply to deny. She used to tell me, but now we do not speak.

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