He never forgot their anniversary
by Rose Mary Boehm

They’d met in the Spring of 1921. He was
handsome and rich, she thought.
Seven years later they married.

She had expected a villa and silk.
He said he loved her anyway.
That wasn’t enough.

They settled in a small flat in the undesirable
part of town. The wallpaper rotted from rising damp.
Not enough coal in the cellar during their second winter
together. The thermometer fell below zero.
Her first-born blue from the cold.

And she was bored. She was bored with his smiles,
his cheer, his love, the flowers. So she nagged.
One day the earthenware plate flew
through the closed window into the street.
At least his hands were not at her throat.

Still, for fifty-one years she kept his wounds open.
Dug with unerring efficiency into the soft bits.

We talked about Father in the kitchen
just before they picked us up to attend the funeral.
Where would I have gone? She said into the void.
I felt how she breathed freely now.

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