stephanie bradbury

After the Honeymoon

No longer a tumbling
glass figurine
she stumbles tipsy
through the house
turns on every light
when he’s away
feels the white noose
of winter tighten,
waits for his return
when it’s over
doesn’t take the covers
learns to hold her grudges
between her knees.
Finds love like a sedative
small enough to hide
in the palm of her hand
swallows it down easily
and sleeps
on her side of the bed.

Now That He’s Gone

She’s back to painting portraits again.
Now that he’s gone
she rearranges the furniture,
makes new rags
out of antique linens,
smears the scars into straight
symmetrical lines.
Lets the coffee go cold,
the water run on too long
the way her sentences
always do,
unfolds the quilt her mother made,
the one he always loved
to hate,
tucked away inside that old
steamer trunk that he dragged home
like a prize,
because it came at a good price,
though it rejected
everything it held inside.

Stephanie Bradbury is a registered nurse living in Georgia, whose work has appeared in Mad Swirl, Turtle Way Journal, and Distinctly Female. She says, “I have two sons, on of whom is autistic. I’m married to someone who hates poetry and I have four free-loading cats.”