So I lay in my daybed at night
& fashioned myself a future
wife. I took the girl
up the street—the one
with the old tan Volvo—
with one foot in volleyball
& the other in drama club.
I hid her bleach & gave her
pearls & a diaphanous peach
dressing gown. I cut her
diploma into a fleur-de-lis
& dipped it in the dark
chocolate of my chintzy
desires. I installed my wife
in a woody, masculine den
& made her whippet-thin
& full of brandy. I stole her
hairspray & sprayed her
with peonies instead.
I gave her a letter desk
& an old inkwell. I gave her
lockable, leather-bound love.
I installed paintings of storm-
flecked seas, gold-framed
& foaming at the mouth.
I put her parents somewhere
safe & warm & out of the way.
I absconded with her to Monaco.
We stood on the tops of buildings
& topped our footstools
in mauve plush. We lied about
how recently we’d read Fitzgerald.
She had a smile like a high-wire
act & I never stopped loving
the way she slid back into her
day-old stockings like a snake
reassuming its shed. In truth?
Her name was Melanie & she
wore athletic shorts & never
spoke to me, so I did her
a favor: I renamed her
Miriam de Havilland & had her
handle my correspondence.
We cohabitated spectacularly.
I wished her into being so hard
I burned a hole in the cul-de-sac.
Karyna McGlynn is the author of Hothouse (Sarabande Books 2017), I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (Sarabande Books 2009), and several chapbooks including The 9-Day Queen Gets Lost on Her Way to the Execution (Willow Springs Editions 2016). Her poems have recently appeared in The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review, Ninth Letter, Georgia Review, Witness, and The Academy of American Poet’s Poem-A-Day. Karyna holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, and earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. She was recently the Diane Middlebrook Fellowship in Poetry at the University of Wisconsin and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Christian Brothers University in Memphis.