CAN THIS MARRIAGE BE SAVED?
I think that a lot of girls and young women have this yearning
that is part desire to have a man and part desire to be him
Light comes and goes in the story of us.
Out here in Wyoming, the deer are different
and I don’t know the names of the birds,
but I do know I am happy without you.
This landscape forgives me my sins, too huge
for them to matter though someone has hung
skulls on the cottonwoods, path by the creek
I walk every day. But soon I will return to our
bed and the dog, the Amazon packages, the dead
dahlias. We’ve been assigned to each other,
you said marriage was a one-way ticket
with no transfers, remember? That throng
of fantasies we shared, a plunder. You try
to teach me mortal lessons, I walk ahead
of you, believing I have no need of salvation.
But when I can’t open a jar or figure out why
my car won’t start, I immediately imagine
what life would be like as a widow. Things
seem so singular out here but then I see sheep
flocked, birds charging each other in the wide sky,
think how necessary it is to belong somewhere,
how I belong to you.
enough of blackbirds, bluebirds, sparrows, the pricey seeds
my husband fills feeders with, enough of the squirrels
and mice that eat them instead, enough of falling in love
and out, of what got us here, what will get us elsewhere,
enough of his leg, my back, lost friends, lost minds, enough
of me me me poor me, the dead mother, the never-enough
girl, our country ‘tis of thee, purple mountains and fruited
plains, graphs and shootings, rising seas and men in suits,
stupid hope, confines of the body, murkiness of the soul,
forecasts of snow, detachment and prognosis, the night
between us, the absence of you.
Sharon Charde practiced family therapy for twenty-five years as a licensed professional counselor, and has led writing groups for women since 1992. She has won numerous poetry awards, has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, and has been nominate seven times for the Pushcart award. The BBC adapted her work for an hour-long radio broadcast in June 2012, and she has seven published collections of poetry, the latest in September 2021, “The Glass is Already Broken,” from Blue Light Press.
From 1999 to 2016, she volunteered at a residential treatment facility teaching poetry to adjudicated young women, creating a collaborative group with a local private school for eleven of those years, and her memoir about that work, “I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent,” was published by Mango in 2020. Charde has been awarded fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, MacDowell, Ucross Foundation and The Corporation of Yaddo. She lives in Lakeville, Connecticut with her husband John.