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Standard Laid Bare
CB (May 3,1962 / United States)

Standard Laid Bare

Poem By Charlotte Ballard

Raindrops drip down a bare
Baseboard, hidden by a
Book dropped by a stranger
Dressed in my husband’s
Shirt.

The wind barks up, knocking
A wedge free from a house
Not stolen from the bank,
Yet. I don’t live here
In the hours ripped up,
Ground up by hot water
Scrubbed over the kitchen
Floor.

A car door slams outside,
A loud thundering sound
Rippling through the
Ceiling, crashing a window
Forgotten in last night’s rounds
Of putting wedding rings
On, and last night’s stale breath
Dusted on a bare shoulder, scrubbed
Off by a midnight whisper.

Sweet, he says, sweet,
Even as the sweat comes
Between barren thighs
Trembling, finishing
And a pillow falls knocking
The book aside.

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