The Swamp Wife
She cleans a bullfrog of its eyes, works the legs
until the muscle surrenders. She tells it love
is knowing the other’s breaking point.
The gypsy moths don’t know: they strip
the spruces and pines, kill them naked.
She knows love is about avoiding. She lets
her husband roost in a ditch of booze piss.
The last time they talked, he told her he dreamed
his mouth kept filling with tears.
She doesn’t know if it was a bear that ate
the breath behind her ribs last night, if it was
a coon that looked like just scalp and spine.
She sets up her bed by the light of the star-
lepered sky, marks the gators lullabying the banks.
-Appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Sou’Wester