A Dear Devoted Husband
Ulysses S. Grant was a handsome man — wow — I love how
The men in those old uniforms cocked their hips the clothes
Looked like they got dirty and Ulysses is leaning
His hip to the right, kind of messy
Kind of like those sexy cowboys with a hand on a rifle
And a hip cocked in the same direction, yes, indeed, they were firmly
Planted in their hips; they were
A little greasy but it’s faded out in the black-and-white reproduction
And you can’t smell what it must have smelled like, not like
Today the way the world tries to smell like 18th century
Though that was just a cover-up really for bad odors after
Too much gray-haired-we-are-all-the-same-age palace rutting;
I’ve looked up this photo because for a good month you have been reading
Grant’s Memoirs and reading me things from the volume though
That is a habit of yours I don’t like at all I don’t like
When you read me things out loud: you make me stop what I’m doing!
But you had to interrupt and tell me how you found out that Ulysses’
Pet name for Julia, his wife, was, “Pupie”
Which may sound something like the name we gave each other — “Poopie”
I spell it on e-mails or how I imagine it spelled when I say it out loud
And like me, Julia had strabismus in her right eye.
Okay, so, even though Grant is sexy and saved a nation, you are more sexy
Than that: your forearms especially are nice, and you will never get
So portly that no one remembers how gorgeous you were once;
You will never be president, but that’s all right too.
And when you read me things out loud, I sometimes listen, I do.
-- Stephanie Brown