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Jill Alexander Essbaum - Coeur Despondent

"The Men We Marry, The Men We Fuck" [by Jill Alexander Essbaum]

The Men We Marry, the Men We Fuck

This one kissed me beneath the stars.
That one fondled me up the stairs.

This one confessed his sins but to God.
That one demanded his pity aloud.

This one drove me to the store.
That one drove me like a car.

This one gave me violets and asters.
That one brought me violence and disaster.

This one wed me in the chapel.
That one ate me like an apple,

And he was as handsome as he was doomed.
Lovely as lust, but fickle as the moon.\

This one built a house to live in.
That one fed me glass and poison.

This one tended a kindled hearth.
That one threw me to the dirt

And by the greenbrier patch we tangled,
Hand to thigh and lip to nipple.

The men we marry, the men we fuck:
This one doubly filled my cup,

That one used me up.

-- Jill Alexander Essbaum

(originally published in The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel: Second Floor)

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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