He was never home.
He was home one day.
He was insisting the curtain hang
certainly in a certain way.
She could not let that pass,
surely surly. The curtains
she passed by twenty-eight times
each day must hang
in a way that mattered to her.
He hung them anyway, anyhow
the way he wanted them,
the way he didn’t want her.
And if she were honest
she didn’t want him
who insisted so insistently
on such matters. The curtains
told her she shouldn’t stay, hanging
heavy and floral and overdone,
hemming her in, like him—
the curtains an indictment,
the curtains concealing light,
the curtains material witnesses,
so dumb, so damning.
What did you call your life before?
The day after the arrow lodged in the wall,
one window fissured, glass splintered underfoot,
you began to think of it as accidental.
And lucky, you said, not to have been there
on the porch, reading the news, when the boy
with the crossbow practiced his form. Lucky
you’d found out what it is to be spared.
After that, the white foursquare on Clark Street
housed your longing to live on that busy street
and let others hurl their cars down the hill
to the main street, as if motion were purpose.
You were anchored in place, content for once
to diaper your babies and hold close your mate,
to see what lived inside that house wanting you,
if not forever, then for that time.
Rebecca A. Spears is the author of The Bright Obvious (Finishing Line). Her work is published in Barrow Street, Calyx, TriQuarterly, Verse Daily, and elsewhere.