portion of the artwork for Gail Peterson's poetry

Gail Peterson

Charlie’s beginning to smell like an old man—
he’s worn that flannel shirt one week too long.
                           She doesn’t mind—
she likes the blue-green plaid,
how it serves his frame, the softness.
Anyway, she knows she needs her Listerine.

Charlie’s not a talker.
All these years, she’s mostly only had
the sight, the smell, the feel of him.
                           She doesn’t mind, really.
A look, a pat, a grin set the meter of her moods,
provide the iambs, regular as heartbeats,
more reliable than poetry.

A silent man. Saint or simpleton?
She once put too much stock in talk
and walked a lie into a bramble.
                           She knows she’s been forgiven
more than Charlie’s ever bothered to let on.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 34 | Fall 2011