Hilary S. Jacqmin

Coupling

 

In Somerville, we rented out
a double-decker’s second floor:
scuffed hardwood, listing balconies,
a built-in china hutch. We mixed

our silver, catalogued our books,
and spiked the butcher-block with knives.
I bought a bruise-blue hyacinth
that died within a week. At first,

we fought when he was out of work.
We fought whenever we were late;
or working late-night, overtime;
or when I used the kosher wok

to stir-fry prawns with mustard greens.
So shacking up meant overdue
electric bills, commuter trains,
the boiler stuttering off, black ice,

and brownouts, clasping sweaty hands.
He’d fill my vintage limeade glass
with gin each time the level dipped.
We shared a grease-soaked paper bag

of onion rings, hands pale with salt,
as constant as New England snow,
then watched the float-glass windows cast
an iceberg on our bedroom wall.

Hilary S. Jacqmin earned her MA from Johns Hopkins University and her MFA from the University of Florida. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Diagram, Field, Pank, Best New Poets 2011, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, Missing Persons, will be published by Waywiser Press in Spring 2017. She lives in Baltimore, MD.