REPOST: “Bone of My Bone and Flesh of My Flesh”

I can’t always refer to the woman I love,
my children’s other mother,
as my darling, my beloved,
sugar in my bowl. No.
I need a common, utilitarian word
that calls no more attention to itself
than nouns like grass, bread, house.
The terms husband and wife are perfect for that.
Hassling with PG&E
or dropping off dry cleaning,
you don’t want to say,
The light of my life doesn’t like starch.
Don’t suggest spouse—a hideous word.
And partner is sterile as a boardroom.
Couldn’t we afford a term
for the woman who carried that girl in her arms
when she was still all promise,
that boy curled inside her womb?
And today, when I go to kiss her
and she says, “Not now, I’m reading,”
still she deserves a syllable or two—if only
so I can express how furious
she makes me. But
maybe it’s better this way —
no puny pencil stub of a word.
Maybe these are exactly the times
to drag out the whole galaxy
of endearments: Buttercup,
I should say, lambkin, mon petit chou.
Set down War and Peace,
just for a moment, and lift
your ruby lips to mine.
And talking to the dishwasher repairman,
the vacuum cleaner salesclerk, the woman
in the Blue Cross billing department
I could explain that I’d already sent the co-pay
for my soulmate, my duckling,
my chocolate-covered cream puff.
Maybe it would brighten her day, too.
Hello, I might say, you precious,
you jewel, O queen among queens,
darling, honey pie, angel,
my sweet patootie.

- Ellen Bass

From On Being

RESPONSE: I love this, it is so close to my life. I love how I can feel, seen and understood. I shared this with my poetry circle and they enjoyed it also; talking a lot about the language discussion. That’s there too although again; how a poem ends is so critical. The author is almost funny with the other woman on her call. Fun🥰

The kites flutter at dusk

the kites flutter at dusk on Ring Mountain Fire Road,

they don’t know that the world has changed beneath their wings,

they don’t know that the walkers on this road don’t talk to one another like they used to

they don’t walk with one another like they used to

and still the sky is just as bright and partly cloudy and fall a stunning Beauty that they’ve known all along and
and a lot of us are just being reminded of that now