lips on the first syllable
we spend most of the day together surrounded by our boys. as much as possible (or as little as possible), we bat at strings that still dangle off the week’s arguments. some of it makes me feel better. some of it makes me feel worse. we set a firm boundary: no discussion of the marriage when it was one. nothing that happened before august — when marriage became separation — is to be brought into conversation.
we talk about other things that are undermining us and what’s to be done about it. we disagree, of course, fall into the roles we played for two decades. i say confront it: let’s air it out. he defers to it: let’s pretend it’s not there. i say, you allow it; it’s acceptable to you. he says, let it go. it doesn’t matter. and each of us hangs onto the rope. we talk about schedules, friends — (well, his, though they used to be ours) (it doesn’t matter. let it go.) — the boys, the games, the food. some of it makes me feel better. some of it makes me feel worse (i miss some of the friends). each of us hangs onto the rope.
i think, you still haven’t invited me in to *your* home. but then thursday at my place, i said, get out.
at the end of the rope: a noose it would be easy to hang ourselves on.
i push him in that direction. he pushes back.
we aim mostly at the image of the new thing: divorce.
and how we can be good at it.
there are lots of noises i’ve learned to tune out living in an apartment in the city: footsteps above me, pipes dripping, celebrations in the street, church bells. the only time sirens get through is if there are multiple rescuers/police all at once. but last night, noise from crows sent me out into my backyard to see what was going on. i didn’t capture them at their loudest in this video, but you get the idea.
it strikes me as both plausible and ridiculous: this notion of being good at divorce.
we have worked in shifts since the boys were babies. some of those transitions were just as fraught as these new ones, but trading off responsibility for the family was one of the things we did well. we’re not so good at it now. i flirt with the idea that we are a drop-the-kids-at-the-curb couple, a don’t-speak-except-about-the-schedule pair. i flirt with the idea that he’s a failure and a phoney and that i hate him. i flirt with it doesn’t matter. let it go. i flirt with the idea that those who undermine me will get hit by buses or mauled by bears.
but i’m unfaithful to those ideas.
what i mostly think about is wanting to relax, to settle into this post-marriage world with a beer in my hand and my feet on the coffee table. what i mostly think about is being a good mother and how i can’t fit into that nastiness between me and the father of my children. i choose respect and cooperation, and i expect it in return. it’s the getting there that’s the struggle. there are concessions and negotiations.
also what i think about is being a poet and artist and the shame of wasting energy convincing grizzlies to come out of hibernation and do my bidding. though vengeance (the settling of scores, the coming out on top) is such a temptress, she is not my only suitor. others await.
still, the poet is an undeniable flirt. she put the notes for this in her notebook last night and shaped it up this morning:
POEM REMOVED FOR EDITING