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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – August 8

August 12, 2017

Poem of the Week 8/8/2017

Della Rowland

Her Green Dress

One month into the marriage,
they were penniless in Music City, where,
with such wealth in his hands and throat,
the marital mattress should have been stuffed with bills,
the larder shelves laden with more than one can,
and he himself cream risen to the top.

He should have had piles of chips,
but he’d been a big deal in a small game
and, what with his delicate temperament,
would only wait,
guitar in hand and drink on the table,
for others to discover his worth.

So he slept and practiced all day,
drank and gigged all night,
when he gigged.

She was a poet,
but found a secretary gig on Music Row,
typed all day, lines not her own,
and still wrote after work.

He never washed one dish,
made one bed,
rinsed out one tub.

He spent her grandpa’s silver dollar
on a quart of beer and a pack of Pall Malls.

He proudly stood by a friend, kicked out by his wife,
gave him pieces of their cheap but complete
silverware set, her mother’s pitiful wedding gift
that she could ill afford.
He disregarded the miscellaneous silver
in the same drawer
that she used in her first apartment
before she married him with all the expectations of art.

He wrote her a song without lyrics,
a melody that echoed her name.
One afternoon, he turned to her mother.
“I wrote a song for you,” he smiled,
and played her name.

He, who had nothing to spend,
was spendthrift with her.
He, who had nothing to give,
gave her away.
He, who had nothing to lose save his pride,
could not save a silver dollar’s worth of marriage.

The day she walked out,
she was wearing the green dress
she had made for their wedding.

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