Sunday Poem


How wide the gulf between o and i:
He loves with his wife and daughter
in New Haven
, his bio read.
An accident of the hands, funny
in the way wrecks often are.

But don't discount the hands,
the way they know the girl will return
one day from college with her arms spilling
like her mother's once did. How he'll see
her almond sweater and the snow

as it stops in the window, and he'll wish
he'd had sons. He'll be vigilant
from here on, aware of the sanctity of letters.
He'll realize as never before that his wife's
and daughter's names both begin with C—

that they are both about sight,
about water. The difference between live
and love will expand to dive and dove,
and he won't know present
from past, past from flying.

For now, he sometimes opens
his wife's shirt in the kitchen,
and wants but does not want
to find someone looking—his daughter,
the mowing neighbor, anyone—

as if to confirm, so that he may say
in the end: Once, there were two bodies
in the same place, and one of them was mine.

by Bethany Tyler Lee
from The Cortland Review,
Issue 48, August 2010