“Junk Mail”

Fall Lines, Summer 2015 (print)

My new husband pulls the hood of his sweatshirt
over his head and jokes—in that inappropriate way men

think is so funny—that I should come looking for him
if he doesn’t return from checking the mail.

My heart jumps that short space between my chest
and throat, but I don’t laugh because it’s dark

outside and all of our neighbors are white.
I worry every minute of the five he is gone,

recite the Serenity Prayer like a perpetual mantra
until he comes back through the front door, keys

in hand, dragging a little of the night’s cool air with him.
In the pile of mail, a few sealed envelopes

from utility companies, a church flier, sheets
of glossy coupons—the kind you can’t recycle.

The evening passes as so many do: dinner,
reading in bed, goodnight kisses. When morning

comes and my husband leaves for work, I watch
him drive out of the cul-de-sac. The sound

of the engine fades into sunrise, and I go to the closet
where he hangs the clothes he doesn’t fold, pull down

every single hoodie he owns, even the Adidas we bought
in Korea, and shred them all to unwearable strips.