- Mostly Married, Alone at Night
You'd better believe that if I hadn't already tied the knot on these sweatpants I'd be out there in the mad brick city painting my lips the only red my complexion will allow, maybe with some heels on, I could probably find some heelsor at least borrow some, well first make some friends in this city that shuts itself to me like a fist and ask the tall ones if what they wear is approximately my size, and then what could possibly be in my way? Besidessweatpants of course and also how when I open the door I am not outside under the trees throwing down leaves like grief-soaked handkerchiefs but am instead inside the house again, to be clear not the house where Istay which is not the house where I live but cannot be, no instead the house I have made of bricks hewn from nostalgia mines bound solid by the mortar of selfish aspiration, and since it is a house made entirely fromthe past and the future I can't stay there either. It's hard to get ready for a night out with strangers/future friends when you can't find lipstick or how to maintain a consistent presence in this dimension. Say I find the shade I need—suddenly my lips are gone and who knows when they'll come back. When have my lips ever done what they should? For all I know they're out there now, surveying skin, working their way across some tattooed frontier and, since they're white,claiming and renaming what they find. I wish better from them, and though ashamed will take the blame for what they clamp and suck, for the whiskey and head, the lies that were truth at the time. [End Page 13]
Erin Adair-Hodges is the author of Let's All Die Happy, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017). A Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholar in Poetry, Sewanee-Claudia Emerson scholar, and winner of The Sewanee Review's Allen Tate Prize and the Loraine Williams Prize from The Georgia Review, her work can be seen in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Boulevard, and Prairie Schooner. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Central Missouri and is the coeditor for Pleiades.