After He Leaves
I pull the sheets taut,
straighten the down comforter,
settle into the center of what is,
once again, my bed.
She spends the weekend emptying
her dresser, nightstand, bookcase, her
drawers from the shared desk. No place
now to store legal papers, courtesy
copy of his divorce petition, list
of premarital property that in two days
he will remove.
Earrings, hand lotion, lipstick
jumbled in boxes retrieved from the attic,
clothes in piles on the pale green rug
she chose for serenity, books stacked
in towers like the ones her granddaughter
builds with brightly colored wooden blocks.
The highest setting
on the vacuum cleaner can't pull up
the four circles where thick legs
of the antique oak table settled
for nineteen years.
She covers the crushed
carpet with turrets of books,
traces the faint outline of the absent
Oriental rug with walls of boxes.
While he plays house on fantasy
island, she climbs over a palisade
of sweaters, sits inside
her cardboard castle, watches
news of a commuter plane crash
near Buffalo, fifty dead,
possible pilot error. She clutches
a stuffed dragon bought on a birthday
trip to London, wonders if it's feasible
to emerge from the wreckage intact.
Delaware native Nina Bennett is the author of Sound Effects (2013, Broadkill Press Key Poetry Series chapbook #4). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies such as Kansas City Voices, Big River Poetry Review, Shark Reef, Bryant Literary Review, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Philadelphia Stories, and The Broadkill Review. Nina was a 2012 Best of the Net nominee.