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Lions Roar : September 2011
I can’t stick with any weight loss plan, And though my extra twenty won’t shatter Any scales, I despise my love handles, And often feel ugly and obese. But my lovely wife always lights the candles, Disrobes, and climbs the mountain called me, Because wives can love beyond the body And make mortal husbands feel holy. Greed Every summer, my wife travels to France To spend a week or two with her good friend. Of course, my sons and I welcome the chance To de-evolve and cave it up, and yet, I sometimes wish that my wife gave me all Her love and attention. But it’s selfish To want such devotion. There should be walls Inside any marriage. My wife can wish For more privacy and solitude Without me thinking it cold and rude. She should have friends I rarely meet, If ever, and I shouldn’t let my needs Become demands, but when I’m most alone, I often wish my wife was always home. Sloth To save time, I put the good pots and pans In the dishwasher and ruined the damn things. And, once again, my wife can’t understand How thoughtless I can be. And, again, I sing The same exhausted song: I forgot, I forgot. When left up to me, the bills go unpaid, The fruits and vegetables go unbought, And the master and twin beds go unmade. Once, when a teacher wondered why our son Spent so much time lying on the classroom floor, My wife said, “Because he’s seen it so often before.” On a basketball court, I will madly run, But anywhere else, I will use sedate Opportunities to pontificate. Wrath In the hotel room next to mine, women Talk and laugh and keep me awake ’til three. Exhausted and soaked with sweat and venom, I stare at the walls and think of twenty Ways to get revenge for their selfish crimes. At five a.m., as I walk by their door, I pocket their PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB sign, And then, from my taxi to the airport, I ring their room. “Who the hell is this?” Asks a woman, still drunk and irate. And I say, “Hey, I just wanted to wish You a good morning and a great fucking day.” When I tell my wife about my adolescent rage, She shrugs, rolls her eyes, and turns the page. Lust Yes, dear wife, we were younger and slender (And, damn, I had terrible hair and clothes). Our marriage was new, exciting, and tender. Naked in front of me, you still felt exposed, And I had yet to learn how to touch you Properly. But now, sweetheart, I’ve memorized The curves of your breasts, belly, and thighs, As you’ve memorized me, and if we do Each other less often than we should or need, Then we can blame time’s ground and pound And not the lack of carnality, Because, D, I still want to lay you down Hour by hour, and make you cry for more, As I cry for you, adoring and adored. —SHERMAN ALEXIE From Face, by Sherman Alexie. © 2009 by Sherman Alexie. Reprinted with permission of Hanging Loose Press. 39 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2011