To the Displeased Husband

by Ryland Bowman

After jacking off in Houston, I think of you—
your gasoline rage, the heart you tax and tax,
the steady roar of the bomber’s talk you wipe
your wife’s mouth with, Ellen whom I almost
might have loved that night you’ll never let go,
wondering if the way she arches her legs around
you, if how she trembles and pulls away, if how
it was today, after walking in the rain, is yours.
And I don’t know how the dead man feels, parked,
while the driver of the hearse takes an hour
to stop and see his girl, if two people inside
rubbing against each other would bother him,
rude as the world can be, the ghost derricks
near Galveston pumping the last old ferns away.

RYLAND BOWMAN’s poems appeared most recently in Jelly Bucket, and he has work forthcoming in The Greensboro Review. A recipient of the 2009 NC Arts Council Grant, he lives in Greensboro, NC.