Sunday, November 1, 2009

Michael Estabrook

My Wife Bailing the Garage During Hurricane Hanna

Standing in the pouring rain,
in Robin’s soaked-through soccer jacket
and her own loose-fitting beige slacks
and black sandals, soaking wet,
her new short hair-do dripping, pasted
to her head. She bends over
scoops up some water in her bucket,
pours it into the larger trash barrel.
Then we drag it up
to the street and dump it over.
She stands for a moment,
her face in profile, strong and shining,
slippery from all the water,
hands on her hips, like her mom used to stand,
catching her breath, before heading
back down the driveway to repeat
the process. “I’m so sorry
you have to do this, Honey,” I say to her.
“Well, we’re in this together,”
she responds. Yes, I suppose so,
but I hate her having to do
such heavy labor,
hate her standing there soaking wet
in the rain, clothes sticking to her
as if they were sprayed onto her lush body,
her face all wet and shimmering,
shining in the moonlight.

My Wife Walking in Her Black Dress

She’s walking with her friend
ahead of me, shopping,
going in and out of quaint shops
and little stores.
Her soft black dress swirls
in endless motion around
her smooth white legs
like the tide lapping
pretty peaceful pilings
along the shoreline.
The soft silky material
follows her legs
in perfect uniform motions,
in unison with her motions,
like shadows around the stars
at night, enraptured
as my eyes are too,
completely mesmerized
by the beautiful synchronicity
of the thin black fabric flowing
with her legs, trying
to keep up with her legs
as she walks and stops, stands still
and walks again,
the material easing forward
then back again in perfect
rhythm with my heart.
Such a happy dress, I think,
to be so completely enwrapped
around my wife’s beautiful legs.

My Wife Kissing Me on New Year’s Eve, 1968

Her long, shiny-brown hair,
her river of hair, parts
at the shoulder of
her sleeveless red dress
(like the parting of the Red Sea ),
her arms reach up around my neck,
one hand clasped calmly,
so naturally, over the wrist
of her other hand,
holding me in close,
pressing her slender,
sure body against me,
her back slightly arched.
Her mouth, her beautiful
pure, sweet mouth
is attached to mine,
so comfortably,
as if it belongs there,
was made to be there.
Her eyes are closed,
as they always are
when she kisses me,
but she certainly knows
what she is doing, providing
me another perfect kiss, soft
as a summer cloud, sweet
as a new spring day in May.

My Wife Doing her Fingernails

After rubbing polish remover
over her nails with a paper towel,
she pokes and digs at her cuticles
with a thin, silvery cuticle remover.
Concentration strains at her brow
as she pokes and scrapes,
then holds her hand
under the light for a better look
before poking and scraping again.
She doesn’t talk. She’s not watching TV.
She doesn’t notice me staring at her,
jotting down my observations
of her leaning forward intensely,
the tip of her pretty, sweet, pink tongue
peaking slightly out from between her lips.
She’s a delicate white dove preening herself
at the end of a long and windy flight.
“This is too dark,” she declares abruptly,
holding her hands with their new
shiny, cranberry-colored nails up for me to see.
Before I can respond she pours
more polish remover onto
the paper towel and begins rubbing
her nails again, oblivious to me
even being in the room with her.

My Wife Buying Shoes

Her arms are crossed
across her chest,
fingers rubbing her chin.
“This shoe looks too narrow
for my foot,” she declares,
holding a shiny sandal-like shoe
out at arm’s length.
“I don’t think so,” says the clerk.
“OK, I’ll try it,” she says.
And it fits rather perfectly,
two bow-like straps holding
a classy little shoe onto her foot.
She tries another style,
but rather than her entire foot
out there open for the world to see,
only one toe peeks out.
“Honey, you shouldn’t hide
your pretty foot inside
that shoe,” I say.
The clerk sighs,
“I’m glad you said that,”
he says, looking on a little sheepishly.
“The first one you tried on
is very sexy on your foot.”
And yes, yes that is the best word.
Her shapely little foot makes
that shoe look very sexy indeed. 

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