TO A YOUNG COUPLE PLANNING THEIR FIRST
VACATION, THINKING OF DIVORCE
If one of you soaks a body towel
in the sea, and in packing after
vacation no one lets it come clean
if someone balls it up and stuffs it
in the trunk it will still be wet
when you get home. You can taste salt
if you suck at the corners.
When you pull in-
to the driveway, shaking sand and sense
from you, from each other, and the front
door lock is unfriendly as the cold
sheets you'll share, stretch that towel across the back-
yard fence. The neighbors will know you're home,
they'll see what hope two weeks has come to bring
you, in that towel, in its braided mold.
And when the thing dries when the fabric
grows stiff and takes on shape of the wire teeth
in each wrought chain link when last year's thistle
still blocks your shed, throw the towel away.
It's a mess after all, it was never
meant to hold so much mineral, the
bare threads still left from all the days you've
made won't even dry one dish, not one god damned body.
JESSE WATERS's work has appeared or is forthcoming in such lit pubs as 88, Cimarron
Review, Concrete Wolf, Plainsongs, and River Styx. He currently lectures in English at a small tech college in Wilmington, North Carolina, and at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington as well. In his spare time he plays music, usually prog rock, with other failed-musicians-turned-writers that he knows.