At Times I Pretend I Have a Husband
by Vaughn Neeld

At times I pretend I have a husband
although I don't. I did once, but
like sugar on lemons, he set my teeth on edge.

At times I pretend I'm married.
My husband writes poetry, listens to music,
rubs lotion on my back at bedtime.

I think of this husband at work
thinking of me as I work thinking of him.
At home, he greets me with smiles and hugs.

This mythical husband and I read books
before a fire, discuss the possibilities
of ancient aliens, time travel, reincarnation.

At a restaurant, alone, I pretend my husband is late.
I ask the waitress to bring me a drink while I wait.
I look up when the door opens.

I scan the menu, tell the waitress
my husband cannot leave work,
order, and eat alone.

At home, I open the door, call "Honey, I'm home!"
listen to the silence say, "You are alone."
"That's okay," I say. "I had a lovely day."


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