[From L’heure bleue, or The Judy Poems]

by Elisa Gabbert

To avoid Jack when he’s sad—
what he indulgently calls “the blues”—
I say, You’re catastrophizing again,

a word I learned from his therapist.
It’s part of the new cruelty.

Jack quote-unquotes Emerson:
Truth is shrill as a fife. I’m sure
Emerson hated women.

I’m unsure of the verb:
Have I wifed Jack
or is Jack wifing me?

I revive an old shirt
that shows off my clavicle.
Vanity is my last vanity,

and I reserve the right
to wear lipstick in the house
and smear it on the cups.

Here everything is admissible,
my silence as weaponry,
my too much perfume.

Published on October 29, 2015