by Michael Cantor
There’s something in the rules, I guess, to make
them brave the scene, dead pale, beside the jerk,
because they all endure it; none will shirk
the role, not one has said, Give me a break,
you asshole, can’t you tell how much I ache –
you’re on your own – instead, she takes her place
and stands there, shaking, life drained from her face
as hubby asks the world for time and space.
There is no way, José, I am forewarned,
you’d ever see me shame myself like that.
I change the channel, give her knee a pat,
suppress a little joke on women scorned.
I'd like to think she’d stand by me, but still,
I’ve never run for office, never will.
Michael Cantor’s full-length collection, Life in the Second Circle (Able Muse Press, 2012), was a finalist for the 2013 Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry. A chapbook, The Performer, was published in 2007; and his work has appeared in The Dark Horse, Measure, New Verse News, Raintown Review, SCR, Chimaera, The Flea, and numerous other journals and anthologies. He was also a finalist for the Nemerov (twice), Richard Wilbur and Robert Penn Warren poetry competitions; and has won the New England Poetry Club Gretchen Warren and Erika Mumford prizes. A native New Yorker, he has lived and worked in Japan, Latin America and Europe, and presently resides on Plum Island, north of Boston on the Massachusetts coast.