Jezebel, Remembering

after Marie Howe


It was like the first time

your hand touches a married

man’s thigh; or when you lean

over the velvet rope, right

before you touch the painting;

or the moment you slip

the lipstick from the shelf

to your purse; when you cover

your crying child’s mouth

and say Shut up; it was the moment

you join your husband’s enemy

on the ledge while he smokes,

and you place your hand

at his back, then push.


Originally published in RHINO.

Winner of an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award.