5.06 / June 2010

On the Day It Became Legal to Rape Your Wife

Somewhere, a couple celebrated
an anniversary, laid out a blanket
beneath a chandelier of willow tree,
pressed into each other so carefully
not even the fallen leaves broke open.
Somewhere, a woman cleared her throat
and a man who spoke only enough body
language to translate this as uncertainty
removed his vagabond hands
from her waistline. Somewhere
a father put down a bottle, picked up
his daughter, and somewhere a father who was not
yet a father decided to stay. Somewhere
a man who’d spent most of his life turning
bricks into other people’s houses
washed his calloused fingers before bathing
his brittle mother in the bathtub of the only home
he’s ever known. Someone’s son
held the door open for a sun-dressed
stranger, or steadied a ladder
because his dad finally remembered
to touch up the trim. Somewhere a baritone
voice said Marry me and the girl who trusted
the weight of those shoulders said yes.
On the day nothing happened
to the man in Afghanistan who scarred
the insides of his wife’s thighs
from all that prying, somewhere else
love was trying harder.