In August sun I blister in the promise
that married us last year on this island
of mice who claim the dark corners
behind stacks of books sheaved with love
letters from women who are not me—

In a year of long sentences, I set the table
for lunch, cocktail forks edging vases
of lobster divine, wild jasmine spilling
over cups at each plate expecting
our guests, my husband’s and mine—

She came uninvited, a writer of letters,
giver of books, lover of my table
(how lovely the flowers, the forks)
until I could hear myself shriek,
a thrower of fits as primitive as this cabin—

The door is no longer his alone
to open as he pleases to women
with all their names, aging faces,
while my name is his
and my mouth shares his breath—

My skin cakes with dirt as these walls harbor
dust filling cracks between splinters
that slip under my nails as I scrub all
with water I haul from the lake to layer off
the grime so there’s room for me here—

With so little time to relieve mortality,
lust works in darkness to distract us from dread,
while fear of what isn’t masquerades here
as longing, the discomforting hunger
that lives where it’s fed—

Carol Louise Munn lives and writes in Houston, Texas. She earned her MFA in creative writing at the University of Michigan. A nominee for the Pushcart Prize, her poems have appeared in many journals including Poetry, The GSU Review, Fugue, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Ampersand Review, The Chaffin Journal.