768 Readings

Prenuptial: Jo Considers Bhaer

He speaks of Socratic tradition,
the finer points of rhetoric and she hears

the velvet cover of his accent over
those gruff polyglot words and she wishes

Beth were there to laugh when she imitates
his speeches badly, but with energy.

He explains to her why certain 
elements combine, form compounds

with molecular bonds and she needs
to pull him outside and show him that

she learned how ice turns back to water
when it melted, quick, under Amy’s feet.

He describes the science of botany,
the chemistry of seed, soil, photosynthesis

and she pulls beans and tomatoes from the
curling, winding vines and wonders

if Meg will help with the cooking–
if not, they’ll surely starve.

He paints her the color of light and the
mottle of dimpled flesh Manet put on Olympia

in Paris, a place she’s only seen in Amy’s art,
which tells more of Laurie than of France.

She clamors for him to take her to the place
he still calls home, to show her his broken ice,

his unburied dead, his petty jealousies
still unfed, just as he’s seen hers

so that she may meet him in that missing
dimension, the place they’ll both call home.

Posted 11/15/11
First appeared at OVS Magazine, Spring 2010.
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