Allison Eir Jenks is a runner up in Marlboro Review Prize in Poetry for her poem, "On Infidelity" selected by Chase Twichell

On Infidelity

Allison Eir Jenks

There is a heaven.
Desire is one of its temporary gifts.
If you have never known desire,
and it has found you
in the shape of a man
with obedient pets and good cooking,
be careful it isn't because
another man has not praised you.
Be careful of its price.
Humans are pitiful when they desire praise.
They will send their children away for it.
They will steal your shoes and your fingerprints.
No one is more capable of judging you.
Whether they love you or not doesn't matter.

If you married for love, be grateful.
If you already know
that you intend to go back home,
don't ask for time apart.
There is no such thing
as a courteous cheater.
If you married for love,
don't let the desired man in.
The time he spends on you
will not repair your ego.
You will be dazzled, then used-up.
Even though he will stay awake with you
until the metallic monster of insomnia
raises hell in the parking lot;
Even though it is bewitching to hear it
clawing through your monotonous artifacts­
your bone grinds and wine bottles,
the morning fires will burn your junk,
but you'll have more tomorrow.
If you married out of petty obligation;
If you have already bought your gravestone,
and want to sell it for half the price,
let the desired man in.
Let the earth leave you for an hour
on its axle. Let the imagination imagine
yourself without an interpreter.
If you married out of petty obligation,
the angels are not watching you anymore.
They are just as hopeless.
They don't haunt abandoned ships.
They graffiti trains, and fuck drunk gods.
They tremble in their bones.
If you ask them to,
They will stitch you a new heart
with wedding cake decorations all around it.
They will sweep the dust from the sunlight,
and find someone else's god to forgive you.

Allison Eir Jenks is the author of Palace of Bones (Ohio University Press), winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, and is an assistant professor at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, where she teaches creative writing. She received her MFA from the University of Miami where she was a James A. Michener Fellow.

Copyright 2004© Allison Eir Jenks

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