Oct/Nov 2020 Poetry Special Feature

I Confide in a Headless Mannequin about My Divorce

by Jennifer Finstrom

I Confide in a Headless Mannequin about My Divorce

But men are not gods and I do not get to choose whether or not I believe in their existence.
     —Emma Littel-Jensen, "Scene on Hole 10"

In truth, I hardly ever think about my divorce, don't
even know how authentic it is to call it that. We lived
together for twenty years, were married for fifteen
months, and most of those years were less intimate than
any relationship I've had. So this seems appropriate
to share with the headless mannequin torso I bought
at an outdoor art fair, carried home under my arm like
an inverted bride. Her skin's fabric is slightly grey
and seems almost to sweat, and I check for mildew
once I have her home, can't help but love the spray
of pink and white roses painted on her torso. She
wears two of my best necklaces, joins without effort
what is sacred in my apartment: the books, the alter,
the birdcage empty of birds. I mean to name her
for a goddess but only after she lets me know
which: Persephone for her flowers, Demeter for
recurring loss, Hecate for her liminal state, the way
she still must move without limbs in her dreams.
I'm less aware of my freedom now the longer my
constraints recede. When I walk from room to room,
I put my hand on the cold stump of her neck,
cannot decide if I should scrape the price tag off
or if it is important for us both that it remain.


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