Madonna and Me

Madonna and I went through
our divorces
around the same time
and I followed her and Guy Ritchie
as a kind of therapy
I mean if Madonna was getting divorced
it couldn't be so bad right
and she'd be OK and I'd be OK
Guy Ritchie was walking away
saying he didn't want her money
because he was a macho British dude
unlike my husband
who was neither macho nor British
and wanted every cent he could get
I kept wanting my guy
to take a cue from Madonna's Guy
I wanted the two to meet in a sweets shop
in London they could bitch
about how Madonna and I
were so manipulative and controlling
Guy complained Madonna wouldn't allow
pastry in the house and I tried that rule too
since my husband had diabetes
Guy was underrated, as was my ex
who thought he was more talented
than I was as surely Guy thought
he was more talented than Madonna
or her Guy and my guy
could meet at a pub and pick up
younger women who would say
I don't know how you put up with that
and the new women would puff up their egos
that had been flattened
by Madonna and me with our big voices
hogging the spotlight
the press turned on Madonna
and wrote that she slept in a plastic suit
her body lubed up with wrinkle cream
that she and Guy never had sex anymore
but I think that suit may have been a lie
I didn't have such a suit
just old tee shirts and ratty shorts
I wore as pajamas
that my husband hated
because the shorts had paint stains
and the elastic waistband
was pretty shot and I'd dress up
for poetry readings but not for him
and what kind of wife did that
a wife tired of working two jobs
while her husband worked none
and maybe I was a workaholic
like Madonna who keeps touring
even though she'll never be able
to spend all her money
I had to work to support myself
work just to survive
but the truth is
I was also happiest working
away from my husband
whose body left an imprint on the couch
like a chalk outline at a crime scene
and why didn't I dial 911
when it got really bad
Madonna didn't either all those years ago
when Sean tied her to a chair
though maybe that never happened
and it was just a Hollywood rumor
and even Madonna
who talked about everything
never talked about that
because that kind of stuff just doesn't happen
to strong women like Madonna and me
or it happens but we write
"deal with the situation"
on the bottom of our to do list
and then throw the list away
it's easier to just step on a stage
or have the students
pull their chairs into a circle
for the poetry workshop
in that small room
where they will love you
or at least need you
to speak about their poems
and they will say thank you for helping me
and you will feel that even though
you can't help your husband anymore
you can help a few people
and they can help you
as you step into the applause
How It Will End
Denise Duhamel

How It Will End

Denise Duhamel

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