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The Fish in My Bed
by Shalla de Guzman

At night, my husband tip-toes, chin to his chest,
arms flapping on either side,
sure he will catch me in bed with someone else.
Unfounded? Of course.
Why he raises the collar of his jacket to his jaws
and slides his baby-blues side to side is beyond me.
"I love you," I say.
A jerk of his head diverts the scent
of Selsun Blue Scalp-Care into the air.
Tonight, there's light rain,
its rhythmical pulse coincides with my own
as I lie in crumpled sheets.
What got him so suspicious?
My rendezvous with an ex last year?
Or catching me calling my boss after office hours?
Our lowered voices...
The shrillness of my laugh...
And is it really so scandalous
to lunch with his best friend,
hang out at a hotel,
From the door, his thick silhouette lingers,
the shadow of his briefcase lowers.
A creek on the parkay floors.
Warm tingling surges through my hands,
the soles of my feet,
the curve of my thighs.
I reach for him. "Love me?"
My throat warms with flicks of his tongue.
But by sunrise, I'm alone again (my husband already driving on the I-10 for an early meeting with his real estate agents) so, I knock on my neighbor's door. He moved in last week--Colin Galang, a Filipino guy with six-pack abs. He was in a Vin Diesel movie, jumped out of a fiery car, casting for any acting job, bringing me small talk and dukit, sticky rice, often.
Young and searching--perfect for a fifty-something has been.
Oh, my hair remains thick and long... but graying.
Elements taking a toll on my once rosy skin
--Richard, forgive me.
When he crosses his legs in those jeans or smiles,
Colin Galang looks just like you--thirty years ago.
I caress him reading,
tangling himself
in our pink sheets
and pillows.
Light flickers from the lace swags on the window
and makes everything glow.
We take Polaroids: Colin eating oranges, (his behind, shiny as an apple, slapped to a redder sheen by the back of my hand); Colin posing with his props, a bowler's hat, a pot of lavender, a plastic brown trout; washing his face with your Noxema cleanser, drying it with your favorite towel. A copy of Moby Dick always tucked in his back pocket as he studies intermittently for his play.
He's very ambitious. Remember how that is?
Your blonde hair used to tumble free,
in waves.
You dreamt of performing,
your voice a beautiful soprano,
what happened?
You lost a part in Three's Company and gave up...
Colin buttons his shirt,
grinning as he lowers to kiss my forehead.
Yes, he's heading to his rehearsal--Baby lover...
My eyes close...
next time they open... husband,
you're at the door,
sneaking around,
about to catch me with Colin's fish.

 Shalla de Guzman

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last update: November 19, 2008
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