By Jeff Tigchelaar
Featured Art: American Gothic by Jason Douglas and Wendy Minor Viny
Volunteer vacations. That’s what
I’ll do, so help me. Go away
for a week at a time or two. You know, have fun,
help out. Save some
baby turtles. And I’m not going
to ask. It’s my money too. Money’s not
an issue. My husband’s
a doctor. Well not
just a doctor, my Lord: a forensic pathologist.
More of a scientist, really. He puts away
murderers. We’ve had – he’s had
death threats. We’re absolutely
not in the phone book. And he is
so addicted to his work. He’s always thought
he can just hand me money and
that’s it. Though, he does expect his
His meals! Can you believe
there’s men like that still? The twenty-first
century. But that’s my role. Cooking
and cleaning. And raising
our daughter, of course. That’s been
my job for sixteen years. My Princess.
My life. I’ve never had
She’s going soon, though.
She’ll have to. She’s a senior. And she’s so
talented. Where do I begin? Singing dancing acting
gymnastics debate violin Jesus where does it leave me
when she leaves me? I can’t be
alone with him. He’s not even there
to not get along with.
If I get upset or try to talk, he sends me off
to the condo. Oh boy,
Orlando. Says “Go
take some time to yourself.”
We don’t even get to fight.
I’ll tell you something I haven’t told him, though.
Last time down there, I got together
with a guy I knew in high school.
He’s a former Major League Baseball player and I will die
before I tell you his name but he looked me up on Facebook
and drove the six hours to Orlando but I told him,
I said “T.J. I am married and you’re a hot mess.
You’ve got two daughters and three exes and I’m not
the least bit available.”
But get this: “I’m younger and richer
than your husband,” he says, “and I’ve been retired
for fifteen years.”
Can you believe
there’s men like that? I told him he could
forget it. I’ve got my daughter and I’ve still got
my husband and a
vow is supposed to be forever, damn it.
I want to go home and have
a nice fresh fight. Pineapples
and cherries on top. See if he loves me
enough to do that.
If not, who cares. I’m there
for my daughter. Although – my God.
I know it’s coming.
I can’t have her forever. Right?
Jeff Tigchelaar’s poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, North American Review, Pleiades, Court Green, Hunger Mountain, Harpur Palate, and The Laurel Review, and in anthologies such as Verse Daily, Best New Poets, and New Poetry from the Midwest. His first book, Certain Streets at an Uncertain Hour, won the 2016 Kansas Authors Club Nelson Poetry Book Award. Recently, he was runner-up for the 2019 Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry, and a finalist in the Chad Walsh Chapbook Series.