“Life Partner” by Jefferson Carter

Jefferson Carter


For convenience, I & my life partner
(the woman formerly known as my wife)
have numbered our arguments. Number 3,
you’re so negative. Number 5, you left
hair in the sink again. Number 8, you’re
naive. Number 11, another beer already? 
Number 13, you don’t listen to me.
But I do. I just don’t agree. Now
my life partner’s on the couch, watching
Live P.D. She’s pleased with the police,
so kind to the miscreants & trailer trash
they apprehend. Of course, they’re
kind! They’re on camera! Without
looking at me, she holds up three fingers.

My life partner wants to make a deal:
she’ll stop storing our broken pepper mill
upright in the spice rack, pepper everywhere
like coarse soot. She’ll store the mill
on its side if I stop switching off the light
over the dining room table whenever
she’s in another room. Why? Why
does she need that light on all day?
She raises both fists & opens each one
twice. Number 20, you don’t love me.

from Rattle #66, Winter 2019


Jefferson Carter: “I grew up with three sisters and a brother. We didn’t have TV, so we entertained ourselves by teasing each other mercilessly, a habit I never broke and which too often shows up in my poetry. After I recited ‘Life Partner’ at a reading, my wife, Connie, held out her hand palm down, meaning ‘enjoy the couch tonight.’” (web)

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