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Thursday, April 05, 2007


in North Dakota

by Nancy Devine

If two men in my state married,
my husband and I would begin
disagreeing about simple things:
toilet paper unfurling from top not bottom,
a chunk of Charmin a tongue stuck out at us everyday,
which brand of ketchup to buy
or is it catsup?
It would get worse:
we’d forget our first date
at a now razed restaurant whose site
is an auto parts shop
advertised with a checkered flag
and worse:
he in a corner of our living room,
standing on a speaker throwing kitchen whisks at me
as I cower under a cheap coffee table
I haven’t gotten around to painting yet
pleading, “Please, please love me! Can’t you just
love me?”
I’d go find him a mistress,
a too-tanned blonde waitress
from a bar half mile away
and bring to her our house,
carry her bride-style across
our front door’s threshold,
her nails scratching at interior walls we painted soft yellow
She’d spin my white Mikasa plates while humming
“Saber Dance” two keys lower than on The Ed Sullivan Show
on Sunday night before leaping into bed
with my husband, his eyes gleaming
gold moons and chartreuse stars, which float
up to our ceiling where I suck
them just before our marriage crumbles expertly apart
just as it was assigned to do a Tuesday in November
that is a long, long
ways off.

Nancy Devine teaches high school English in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she lives with her husband Chuck and their two dogs, Whitey and Yo-yo. She co-directs the Red River Valley Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project. Her poems have appeared recently in Bear River Journal, Main Channel Voices, Matter 09: Fuel. and 42opus. She has work forthcoming in The Minnetonka Review and VOX.