Marrying the Animals

From In the meantime: Elizabeth Smart poems. Marrying The Animals. 
Brick Books: 1995

I was furious and disgruntled when those two young girls 
came knocking at my door and sat wasting my evening,
interrupting my wait…
..girls flopping over the bed that waited for
him, picking up books for his hands, drinking
coffee hoarded for him, smoking his
cigarettes,and then, Lord save us, hollering to
their boys whistling below, leaning out the
window that couldn’t hold, full as it was of
desire braiding my stripped life into a ladder to
let him up or me down. I don’t know which but
it’s my window and sitting at it steadies the
room until his appearance up the path. Then
quick as stones they run off kissing their
youths, trampling trilliums, delicate flowers. It
doesn’t matter. As long as they’re out of the
days I wait for life to start. My pretty room. My sonnet.


He comes after a long rain
the sudden sun on every wet thing so fierce
the compost in its gleaming wire-mesh begins
to percolate. And underneath my fussing with
sheets and drinks hums the unplayed strings
of a room bursting for dancing.

In bed at night that old image of strong
capable woman surfaces. My hair falls like
grief over his face thinking he sees me as
braver than Jessica. Surely it won’t work
against me.

Roll onto my back to ease the cramp, ask G to
rub and his fingers sink into the joint where
pain’s sharpest. Asleep
under his hands if it weren’t for the baby
kicking up like wind off water and

the field tomatoes heaped below the window.
Spiked with rain. Smelling of feverish decay.

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