Poem of the Week, by Judith Waller Carroll
Write Together, our week of no-pressure, twice-daily guided writing prompts via Zoom, begins next Saturday, June 10. Spots are still available, so if you’d like to join in, just let me know. Click here for details. I’d love to see you in the zoom room!
Right after college I moved to Boston and began my life as a self-employed penniless writer. Sometimes I took a creative writing workshop through Harvard Extension. In one of them, I wrote a short story about a young woman who was married to a nice man, a good man, a man who bored her. She dreamed of passion, of adventure, of wild sweeps of emotion. One of the male writers in the room, speaking of the story, said “But what’s wrong with nice?” and I inwardly rolled my eyes and scoffed at what I perceived as his own boringness.
That story is probably at the bottom of a file cabinet somewhere in my house, but I don’t want to find it. I don’t want to think about the girl I used to be, how she silently equated “nice” with “boring,” and how wrong she was.
The Wrong Man, by Judith Waller Carroll
A few years after I married you,
when our love had settled down
to that steady simmer
that’s sometimes mistaken for boredom,
something triggered a memory—a whiff
of Brut cologne, iced instant coffee—
and suddenly I craved the misery
that marked my brief time with him:
the lurching stomach, the sweet
prickle at the back of my neck.
I even started to dial the number
I still knew by heart, but there you were
walking through the doorway,
arms full of something ordinary—
groceries or shirts from the cleaners—
wearing that half-smile
that could always start a fire inside me,
a flame much deeper
than the remembered pain.
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