December 31, 1962
40 weeks later she named me, Sarah Brooke Wolff, wrote it in invisible ink,
knowing it would be replaced, her sin punished.
New wool coat over old crepe dress, she climbed from window sill to tree
branch, as if she’d done it before, her parents
distracted by cigarettes, champagne and traditional holiday sex, it wasn’t hard
to leave unnoticed, to walk across eight winter
streets in her single pair of black high heels and meet him in the basement
bedroom, his own mother passed out early,
not one to wait for a ball to drop. I want to invent a nice young man, remove
the smell of dirt, stale beer, the way his eyes
glistened when he spoke to her of Hester Prynne, using all the right language:
inequality, feminism, puritanical power,
all the while imagining what words he would brand onto her skin, hidden
beneath sensible white panties and cotton
bra. I see him in the shadows, measuring the distance from his mouth
to hers while she speaks about the way women
have suffered in history and art, the impossibility of deciphering the pain
of Mrs. Dalloway, he correctly judges that she
believes everything she says. She knows he believes in nothing, she watches
him rise and she is happy, I insist on this truth,
that this moment be flooded with joy, this is how people drown every day,
and even if I could, I would not save her.
I am never like Abraham’s wife, I am sometimes an untamable stream of water,
I am always Canus lupus, part predator, part
poet, part deceptive fortune teller, part woman who should have stayed at home
that night but released herself, forever.
Bio: Beth Gordon is a writer who has been landlocked in St. Louis, Missouri for 16 years but dreams of oceans, daily. Her work has recently appeared in Into the Void, Quail Bell,Calamus Journal, DecomP, Five:2:One, Barzakh, and others. She can be found on Twitter @bethgordonpoet.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.