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Denise Duhamel

"Ode to the Other Woman's Ass" [by Denise Duhamel]

Denise Duhamel

Ode to the Other Woman's Ass

You have occupied my husband’s imagination
when he otherwise might have been bored.
You gave him pretty shapes to behold
at the mall, in the supermarket, when he peered
from behind his Newsweek at the airport.
Oh thong-wearer, the strings rising
from your crack like bird’s wings in flight.
Oh pencil skirt, snug jeans, short shorts,
bikini bottoms, capris and the circles
they contain.  Oh billboard buttocks,
magazine tushes, movie star derrières.
Oh porno fannies, soft core rumps,
the heinies of whores, the gluteus maximus
of the girl-next-door.
                              Oh Asses of Other Women,
our relationship, I know, has not been one of ease.
For years I feared you, feared that my husband
would follow your wiggle and leave me
for your high-branch peach, your airbrushed apple.
I also feared the eyes of your men, their animal glances,
their whistles when you were not with them.
I have put up with their flirting, as I hope you put up
with my husband’s.  If you are like me, I know you will not
always like it, but on a bad day it can almost be welcome,
remind you of what can sometimes be lost
in a long marriage.
                            Oh Asses of Other Women,
you are beautiful, with or without a stranger’s validation.
You know that, and your men know it too.
Yet, if you are feeling kind,
please ask the face attached to you
to humor my husband with a smile
should he look up to find eyes
and when your husband looks my way
I will try to do the same.

from Ecotone and from the archive, December 2, 2012

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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