The Alcoholic and the Ball and Chain
He takes her on a date — a “date,” a “surprise!” —
But nothing’s planned.
It’s just another requirement, like passing a written exam.
Another night with the wife.
He doesn’t even know what to write
So there’s no card. An unwrapped box — here — this’s for you.
What she wanted.
Did she get what she wanted?
This is the way she looks at life — so he calls her a child
When they fight.
He’s putting in his time with her —
Before the bottle of beer (her disapproval, her smirk)
And the bong hit (out of work).
-- Stephanie Brown
From Domestic Interior by Stephanie Brown (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008). The poem originally appeared in American Poetry Review.