She carries a big purse that smells like leather and tobacco.
Pink lipstick and spearmint gum are always inside.
The long strap is frayed at the shoulder
where her well-lotioned hands
have gripped for nine-and-a-half years.
She drags the sack toward her across the solid oak table,
across the two large marks where his well-greased forearms
have eaten through the varnish
for nine-and-a-half years.
since he cock-a-doodle-doo’ed
in their wedding bed.
Actually stood up in the bed,
struttin’ and scratchin’ like a Banty rooster.
She sparks up a Benson & Hedges Ultra Light Menthol 100,
chews all the sugar out of a stick of Wrigley’s
‘til she can snap it good between her back teeth,
smears some lotion on her hands,
and vacuums the green shag carpet.
She slips her big toe in the hole from the bullet that just missed his boots.
She glares at him, all splayed out on the black plastic couch,
comin’ down after three days with his best buddies,
Jack, Johnny, Jim, and Mary Jane.
She props her cigarette between her front teeth
and slides her finger up his slick forearms
and sees a smudge of red lipstick on the collar
of the shirt she ironed three days ago.
She takes a long drag and holds it in a few seconds before exhaling completely.
His mouth is agape under his snoring beak.
She flicks ashes in the hole,
making him sputter and spit, “You crazy bitch!”
then fall face down back into the black plastic.
She clicks off the vacuum cleaner
and gazes out the large picture window beyond where he lies,
while the motor whirrs down to a dim hum.
She puts on her pink lipstick, presses her lips together,
and unlocks the front door,
leaving her big purse on the solid oak table.