once upon a decade
i wanted him to leap onto his white steed
grab his longest sharpest sword
and gallop off
to lop off the
ugly heads of the man who raped me
and the man who abused me.

in another decade,
i wanted him to say something
though it had to be anger.
he had to show me
with his words and his tone
and his venom
that he understood
as best he could,
that he hurt for me,
with me.

and now
after 40 years of togetherness
i am content
to have him quietly by my side
saying “you better get started”
to every idea that comes through
my bones.
to have him gently kiss me every night
EVERY night, i tell you.
to have him say the words “i love you”
in more ways than i can count.

it’s not our anniversary.
i usually only write about him on the day we met
or the day we married.
then again
maybe it is an anniversary of sorts.
an anniversary of recognizing
of setting aside
without ever forgetting, mind you.
of publicly declaring
that this man called andy
is number one
and takes up more space in my life than the other despicable men
will claim ever again.

[ ::: ]

i can’t wish it all away for jane doe
it happened
i can’t wish her to set it aside,
this will be with her every hour of every day
of her life.
the best i can do is wish her a husband who may
never be able to talk with her about it
because he can’t fathom how men could
commit these vile acts;
a husband who may squirm when she writes or talks about this,
something she simply must do every now ‘n then;
a husband who might cringe when she yells at the tv
because he can’t go to the store
and buy something to fix,
to repair
what happened to her.

i can
and do
wish for her a husband
even after 40 years of togetherness,
takes the dog for a walk and
returns bearing
a lacy leaf
or a heart-shaped rock
or a piece of wood
he thought she would like.