The MFA in Writing Program at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri

The Former Mrs. Jonathan Rothdale

Beth Mead 


This is fine. This all will be fine. Perhaps now
I'll stand, arms open, on a rainy Paris day, thinking of things
that are not you.


You never wanted to see Paris, I know. You only said that
to make me want you.


Now I think I will take a class, a figure-drawing class,
spend hours studying bodies at arm's reach,
pencil their curves and lines, touch them in a way
you never touched me.


You told me I could not draw. I know, I'm no artist,
I realize that.


I feel fine. Like the fine in fine wine. Or the fine of fine china,
see-through fragile, yet solid enough to hold something
within it.


When you held me, it was after I sucked you dry, before you slept
heavily in dreams of others.


I look at a woman on the sidewalk now, and I see her
like you must have--how her hip shapes the skirt, how the skirt slips
between her legs.


I think now I will change my name. Not just my last name, that name
that is you, but my first name. I will be Scarlet, I think. Or maybe Violet.
I know I will be a color.


When you gave me your name, I wrapped myself inside it like an egg
in tissue paper. I drew the curve of the R for hours.



-Winner, 2010 Jim Haba Poetry Award

-previously published in Mid Rivers Review Volume 11 

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