I could’ve married a country boy. I could’ve married,
slipped a shawl around my frame at night
and watched him weed the garden. I knew men
of work and red clay. They were not sensitive
like you. If one struck me, as they were wont to do,
I’d take his truck through town, tie a brick to the gas,
and let the river have it. But I would take him back,
because women trapped in that small town made do.
You once told me that your father had another wife,
another family, another house with his name on the door.
There isn’t enough dirt for the ways men lie.
In bed, I want to believe you when you say you need
two things in this life: a supple shouldered girl
and a car that never dies.
by Sarah Sweeney
Sarah Sweeney's poetry and essays have appeared in Rattle, Quarterly West, Pank, Thrush Poetry Journal, Barrelhouse, and others. Her manuscript about growing up in the South was a semifinalist for the Crab Orchard Poetry Series and she has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation, and a Pushcart nomination. She lives in Boston, where she writes for the Harvard Gazette and travels often to Latin America, chronicling her journeys at www.loosegringa.com.