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Apr/May 2004 Poetry Special Feature

Matthew 5:38

by Julie King


Art by Janet L. Snell

 

Matthew 5:38

When you slapped me for crawling
in at 4am, obnoxious on rail gin, sporting
fresh hickeys, I backhanded you, my diamond
nicking your ear. That's so old testament,
you said, pressing your fingers against the lobe,
then against my face. Head wounds bleed a lot.
You drove yourself to the clinic, coming
back with two sutures and two pink roses.
The black threads bristle when you chew:
antenna receiving signals from some 1950's tv
series in which the wife doesn't smoke cartons
of Viceroys behind the garage, doesn't scream
when the windows are wide open why is there
always so much fucking laundry,
doesn't make
out with boys on the hoods of green Mustangs
because her skin is thinning. That wife would've
turned the other smooth powdered cheek
for one more slap, finer than the first.

 

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