Jess Rowan

from the good wife

why the good wife is a wife at all or why she wouldn’t be a wife. how the good wife became a wife and when. what definition of wife she prefers. how she moves through the words to make an escape or how she moves within the words to stay. a wife surrounded by wives making an exit. a wife entering other wives removing other wives taking them under an arm. under advisement. wicked wives holding a breath. where a warm softness can spread across and into. how a shore births forth, how a century passes. now a shore comes back around.

the things one never says. the sand words. the sand of words salting you.

there was a house on the shore.

there was a house on the shore where the good wives go.

in the house on the shore where the good wives go. the only house on the shore. the good wives all in the walls. becoming walls pulling themselves down. pulling each other down. good wives upon each other crumbling. perfectly good wives fucking the floors.

where the floor becomes a berm.

what a house of wives looks like to the wives. what a house of wives looks like to the world. does the world know of the house of wives can it know? how would a world know without access to its own shores?

shore as knowledge base. shore as conduit. shore sparkling forward planting its feet. a shore waking itself to reorient. a shore discovering the wives melting them. melting against them. waking them. waking against them. how to surround surrender.

a shore that capitalizes upon itself. a shore hunting.

a capital shore. and its capital wives.

but the good wives did not marry the shore. they were once singular for the life of the rains. they were once married: each wife, each good.

they were pluralized by the storm.

what wives singular. what good single wives. what growth pattern from the one good wife to every other part of her beaming. what part of other good wives the wives of her. the wives of her separation. the audacity of wives.

oh and behold the wives in their goodness. behold the plurality of them in name.

how. do wives. linger.
wake up. wake up the shore.

wake up a good wife in a tiny nightmare. behold the trappings of wifehood.

the time when the goodness was never born.
the time when the goodness would never be born.
the time the goodness was born and never the time the goodness was conceived.

we know the wives are good because the goodness was in them. we know them by the absence of goodness. we put the goodness onto them.

they spit out the goodness and we put it back in.
we, not the wives, never the shore.

a good wife makes the goodness in piles. knows nothing of piles. somehow they make their movement. she moves as a creature with creature ways. she moves a creature out of her way gradually over years or decades. centuries. moves a creature out of her with a decade of slowness. what a creature doesn’t know may be her only real weapon.

what ever could a creature never know. a good wife with a creature of herself making itself at home. she could never be the one present presenting.

Jess Rowan's work has appeared in West Wind Review, Horse Less Review, Sprung Formal, etc, and with Maurice Burford in the collaborative chapbook Prithee (Abraham Lincoln Press). She lives and writes in the frost heaves of Maine.

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