January 13, 2021

David Romtvedt


When a couple separates, it’s hard not to stick 
with one and let the other go. Sitting on the fence, 
you risk being reviled by people on both sides.

A friend says, “My wife came home and found me
with another woman. I tried to make a joke, said,
‘I got the laundry done.’ Really, what could I say?”

“Nothing,” I want to tell him, but keep still,
seeing the lover in bed, the washing machine,
the wife, the joke. Is that a joke?

His ex, also a friend, says, “I opened the door
and there he was with a woman I’d never seen,
each of them a bellow pumping oxygen on a fire.”

I admire this metaphor made when she was angry
and hurt. And I’ve always thought her attractive 
though it’s not something I could tell her, even now.

I look out the window to the water, a tug 
hauling a load of logs to the mill. The slices
of wedding cake laid out on their plates.

from Rattle #69, Fall 2020


David Romtvedt: “Today is September 1st, and it was the hottest day of the year—96 degrees. I mowed the lawn, dug up carrots and potatoes from the garden, took a mountain bike ride, read an analysis of fairy tales by Bruno Bettelheim, which annoyed me for his refusal to consider culture as one of the shaping influences in the individual’s psyche, and listened to the neighbor shooting baskets in his backyard. Whatever its pain, the world is also awash in beauty.” (web)

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