Almost Enviable, Her Innocence

folding his shirts, stacking his underwear
into a neat pile, matching his clean socks.

A luxury, to trust him.
What he hid, he hid well,

in fear, or the familiar
childlike way one guards

the secret life. Was this the way
adults lie to each other,

seamlessly, without desire
to extricate themselves,

wanting only to be good,
to be loved, to be loved

without question.
Her husband’s face

was a boy’s face
when he slept, angelic,

and who has ever known
what angels think or do?

There must have been one thing
she never told him, she thinks now,

convicting herself for their ordinary failure.
Not now, not here, she’d say silently

when she woke. Or, perhaps,
one thing she never told herself.

Dreams buzzing in her head like mosquitoes
that she pushes away with her hand.


Linda Elkin has an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She taught creative writing workshops for twelve years in San Francisco. Linda’s poems have been published in The Bloomsbury Review, Midwest Quarterly, and Kindled Terraces: American Writers in Greece (Truman State University Press).

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