Karen Benke – After The Affair

Karen Benke

Each day he left our shallow bed at sunrise.
All that remained: the black snake lie.
Yes, he remembered his watch, the cream for his coffee.
He unloaded the dishwasher, carried the recycling to the curb.
How can you say I’m not here for you?
The house creaked quiet.
The woman who was me curled under the stiff sheet of another day.
His car accelerated up the driveway.
On my side of the whale-huge bed, the woman remained.
Jays squawked. The cat cried for food.
The child watched another cartoon.
Walking to meet the carpool, I explained
1+2=3. And two plus one also equals three.
The child held my hand. Don’t cry, Mommy.
Afterward, I kept my eyes open to see underneath
the lies the woman who was me could no longer keep—
The bite reached flesh, bone, heart, head.