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I stopped writing poems
When this stopped being funny
When I could no longer find the humor
In turning on the oven

Remembering you sitting in this chair
In my reading glasses
Filling in the crossword puzzle book,
Reading aloud to me the Harper’s Index page,
Asking me to guess the percentage of millennials who think X,
The ratio of conservatives who believe Y

Those days in early March -
After we told your son and my daughter
We were finally moving forward with our marriage
When we ordered 10k worth of white carpet at Home Depot
Finally hired a professional to fix your garage door

I knew one day you would have to get a new car
That I couldn’t keep driving you to and from work
forever; that this was never going to be a way to
Fix you or overcome your addictions
One day – six weeks out – you would leave me to purchase a
truck, and that day forward I would lose you one small percentage
Point a day til there were no more days left
And I found myself sitting in a zoom room with my attorney in a
small Ohio hotel,
Waiting for a judge to grant us the divorce I never wanted

You didn’t, of course, appear in the zoom room
You were absent there also

You were absent so much of this marriage
Why be present for the divorce?

When I turned the oven on today
Warming it for the individually wrapped single slice of Whole Foods pizza
You used to tease me for keeping stacks of in my freezer
I didn’t laugh
It felt like another zoom divorce you weren’t present for
The realization I would never again turn the oven on to warm
Your 10 pm dinner
Or light the dining table candles
Or press the palms of my hands together in prayer beside you

The greeting card section of Target is so triggering now
All those cards meant for husbands and wives
I pass by as fast as I can

In your absence, there is nothing funny about individually wrapped slices of Whole Foods pizza.

There is something tragic about turning on the oven now.



A week before the divorce we were playing Family Feud
after you got off work
after our candlelight dinner
after Trivial Pursuit
I was manic or delusional or both
Thinking the divorce would save us
Believing the divorce would finally change you
Like a baptism or rebirth
Like Madonna when she cut her hair after Sean Penn in 1990
I was almost giddy in the days leading up to it
Giddy with anticipation of your newfound truthfulness,
The first time you would be faithful to me!

We were playing Family Feud and it was my turn
To ask a question
I said, “Name something you want to be known for”
I turned the card over
The number one answer was kindness
Number two was generosity
Three: intelligence

You had already answered, shouted out without consideration,

When I read to you the answers on the back of the card
You looked confused.
“Why would anyone care about that?” you said,
meaning kindness. meaning generosity. meaning intelligence.

I laughed like you were being funny
I laughed like you were making a joke.


The 11’s

I spent Friday night obsessing over my age and the way I look
As tho either or both were an answer for your chronic infidelities
Reconsidering my pact w my daughter
Never to alter our faces

Everyone else is doing it! I told myself, sounding more like an insecure,
desperate teenager than the fifty-five year old woman I am

I googled Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Aniston, Mariah Carey
other 55 yr old women who were insecure & had $$$
I googled Christie Brinkley at 70, at 60, at 55
studied the differences in her forehead, her lips, her cheekbones
read the reddit thread of 45+ women consoling one another w their
Botox experiences, eyelid surgeries, erasing the “elevens”
learned about laser therapies, fillers, injections, facials

Looked up dermatologists and plastic surgeons in my area
Considered the way I could spend ten thousand dollars,
Twenty thousand, the last of my dwindling inheritance:
Fuller tits, plumped up lips, more opened eyes
In an effort to make you mine again

“She’s the most perfect woman I’ve ever seen,” I remembered a friend saying
of another female writer after meeting her in person

Maybe I could be the most perfect woman too
If I spent enough $$$
If I filled all the places I guess needed filling

There was a battle going on inside my head: my daughter and my dignity vs
a man and my self-esteem

I had given you all of me but all of me wasn’t enough
I had sexualized myself on a book cover but my sexuality wasn’t enough
I gave you blowjobs but the blowjobs were bad, you said, on account of my dignity

I couldn’t overcome it, I didn’t know how to push it aside
Even with your dick in my mouth
I kept thinking of the women you paid to do a better job than me

You compartmentalized all of us women in your life: wife, dicksucker,
sidechick, babymama

my friend didn’t say, “she’s the best writer I’ve ever read”

women can objectify women too

I was trying to objectify myself
Thinking it would make me more valuable to you,
To the world

Forgetting the reason you’d liked me in the first place (you: him, you: the literary world)
was that I wasn’t like any other woman you knew

(It was weeks before I gave you a blowjob!)

I don’t need plumped up lips to be a good writer
I don’t need to be a blowjob queen to make you stop cheating on me (nothing can)
I don’t need to do anything in either case

This is a poem abt what she didn’t do

I woke up Saturday morning and didn’t do anything

Which is exactly what I’d promised my daughter (and myself) I would do.



After that I didn’t spend any more time
Thinking abt how I looked or aging or blowjobs.



Julia fox wasn’t a great writer
But she seemed so much more productive
And radiant now that she was celibate

Even if I preferred her (thicker) body in Uncut Gems
(Women can objectify women too)



She looked her age
I mean, my age
I thought: good for her! not succumbing
I thought: I wonder who Will Arnett is dating
I googled “Will Arnett girlfriend” wondering why he seemed to have
aged better than Amy, wondering what I even meant by “aged better,”
Thinking about how Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin, Johnny Depp, Eddie Murphy, Leo!
All had significantly younger romantic partners
DeNiro had a baby! Pacino had a baby! Mick Jagger had a baby!
Wtf!?! Will Arnett has a baby!!!
With a woman twenty years his junior
While Amy Poehler is on Seth Meyers “looking her age”

And you wonder how they sell all this Botox

I tried to blame our times, our current culture, til I thought of the bible,
All the teenage sex slaves (In the bible)
All the wives
One man had (in the bible)

It wasn’t current or the culture: it was biology.
Leonardo will crap out a baby in his eighties.
Amy was promoting a movie she did in which she was the voice of a cartoon character
on Seth Meyers

Remember when you thought Tina Fey was hot?

All I want, as Sally in Peanuts used to say, is MY FAIR SHARE!
My teenage sex slave, my multiple husbands,
My male sex worker

Someone I can pay to get me off and leave
Someone to fuck behind your back

All I want, as Sally says, is what I have coming to me!

I think Amy Poehler probably wants this too