“Revenge” by Christine Potter

Christine Potter


My problem is I don’t want it, even on my ex who
flung the wicker lid of a laundry hamper after me
the night I said Now you’ve made it easy, and left.
I never saw his face again—really. Unless maybe
once in the parking lot at a lake we both liked, his
round, silver glasses flashing August three PM sun
sixty feet away. He squinted. I felt a familiar lurch
in my stomach even before I looked back at him—
or someone else. I’m still not sure. Forty years ago!
I never want revenge. And it wasn’t easy. His lawyer
was ferocious, served me papers over a dictionary,
a few LP records and a chili pot, that Christmas Eve.
Believe me, I couldn’t even shoot Putin. I’d probably
just insult him, get myself jailed for keeps. I feel bad
for people. I’m a snowstorm like today’s snowstorm—
wet, torn-up newsprint wind-spiraled, worrying only
our bamboo—which blew through its boundary-pots
last summer. And now it’s all set to invade everything.

from Poets Respond
March 19, 2023


Christine Potter: “I write poems almost every day, but sometimes I don’t know what I’m really writing about. I keep coming back to a long-ago time in my life when I had to leave a bad marriage. I’ve never understood the predatory lawyer thing in a circumstance like that … and I was mulling it over in yet another poem when I realized I was writing about Ukraine again (something I also do a lot). Or maybe I was writing about both things at once, which is how metaphor works. Someone always starts a war, of course. And you have to defend your home against brutal attack, of course! But the cycle of revenge—it’s just not in me. I don’t understand it. This news story about the pacifist psychologist broke my heart. He must be like me.” (web)

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