Divorced Men and Divorced Women: two poems by Debra Bruce

I don’t typically think of poems as being great resources for character profiles and exploration, but these are just that.  Bruce also uses great hard consonant sounds in both poems, you’ll enjoy reading them out loud.  If you’re a writer, but not a poet, consider trying a poem form to illuminate a character or use yourself as subject.  Otherwise, just enjoy the possibilities and lives these two individuals could fit into.

Divorced Men                                                                                    Debra Bruce

She was the best one

on the beach, but what a bitch

she was later. Summer after summer

she tossed, she twisted the sheets

on her side, she burnt the edges

of everything to spite you. The small

kitchen sweated grease, babies stuck

to her hip until they finally slipped

away from her and dropped, one

by one, into your arms in the backyard.

Like other fathers you knew, you

played ball with your boys

on a homemade diamond. You played

until your trick knee gave, until she

called through the screen for you

to bring them in. But it was just dusk,

you slapped your catcher’s mitt

and shouted. You could still see the perfect

arc of your son’s pitch, you thought

you could see everything.

Divorced Women                                                                              Debra Bruce

The bedroom mirrors reflect

from all angles that you’ve

trimmed down since him to the slim

size you used to be. Turning again,

you turn to yourself. The hip-hugging

fit fits, and dusky blue is the right

shadow for tonight.

Cosmetic kit, car keys, and the quarter moon

like a key-ring trinket. Your whole life

you’ve known only one man. Now

you will know how all men

are one, when their muscles melt

in motion, hips curve into waves.

But you won’t drown. Just dry

your thighs and drive home, alone,

alive, with time for the first time

to notice how the September crepe myrtle

strips off its bark. Its petals

are so pink, too pink, and a late

summer storm has torn them up

and smeared them on the lawn

of your apartment complex.


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