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.