Note to My First Wife

By Steven Cramer
Feature image: Cambrian Road, Richmond, 1913-1914 by Spencer Gore. Courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund.

We leased a two-story coloring book.
The peonies our neighbor planted

between our recto and her verso
turned out plastic to the touch.

She even kept them watered: pretty
funny, like the niblets we bought

in white cans named NO NAME.
But it’s the moon who found us

really hilarious that night—naked,
well-oiled from head to foot—

we swam across Lake MacBride.
No memories of you in snow . . .

I assume you sleep as I do, more
or less. When I can’t, can’t you?

Ginkgo trees canopied our one-
way street, no address to GPS.

Stopped for geese at Fresh Pond,
or the news on mute, I hear you,

also turned down low, say don’t
bother wondering if I’m dead. I do.


Steven Cramer’s six poetry collections include Listen, (MadHat), Clangings (Sarabande), and Goodbye to the Orchard (Sarabande), winner of the Sheila Motton Prize from the NE Poetry Club and named a Massachusetts Honor Book. His journal publications include The Atlantic Monthly, Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Paris Review, and Poetry. Recipient of grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and an NEA, he founded and teaches in Lesley University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Website: http://www.stevencramer.com
Twitter: @StevenC07808764

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