Infidelity: A Nightmare

The wife did shrill
toneless wail
some faceless image

We talked of breastfeeding
and when the milk was gone
a red water came through

or the juice of a tomato
strained through her
bitter teeth

A crowd convened
to discuss my influences
of understudied poets

and the wife interrupted—a missing
tenth of sorts—a structure of wood
that rose up out of the water

cracking the shell of her eyes—
she was going to needle and
thread me if I didn’t get up and go

She would catch me
in every chase around the great dirt
lot of my mistake

her legs making tornadoes in
whatever dust might settle—
what is the point of this running?

I opened my mouth in last
resort—my sweet white teeth one
more piece of time for her to pluck

If I could give her my face to pave
over her own and place my chords
in her barren throat—

maybe I would wake
without wailing
tuck my tender nails back in their beds

Marie Landau is an editor at the University of New Mexico Press and a member of Dirt City, an Albuquerque-based literary collective. Her poems have appeared in Gnarled Oak, Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, Yellow Chair Review, SOFTBLOW, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere.