Trying to Explain, a poem
How do you explain to outsiders what was bad about the marriage?
Take them down the aisle with you, make them wear the white satin dress so stiff and heavy, embroidered with pearls, it left deep red welts for 24 hours.
Was your first inkling when, on the way to the honeymoon bed, he had to stop to get the car washed? Next, take them with you to the hotel room where there was nothing, absolutely nothing left to talk about. Put on the black nightgown he requested and hunger for food if nothing else, order room service, you wanted a juicy cheeseburger, he even found fault in that. He had steak, rare. It was his wedding night, after all.
Don’t forget how his education was far superior to yours, he had worked harder for everything he possessed, including you. His mental health put you to shame. You were so tired from getting married you fell asleep before having sex. Next morning it occurred to you it wasn’t too late, you could still get out on a technicality. Mistakes get made, are remedied 9 years later.
In between the first day and the last, hordes of memories press between the sheets. Detritus from a dying institution. Tell them about your body, how it remained cold, so cold even the touch of a well-educated fool couldn’t wake it. Give examples: he called you a bitch 78 times, neurotic, 207 times, a whining baby, 134 times… tell me, how many times was too many?