I married you for all the wrong reasons, charmed by your dangerous family history, by the innocent muscles, bulging like hidden weapons under your shirt, by your naive ties, the colors of painted scraps of sunset. I was charmed too by your assumptions about me: my serenity— that mirror waiting to be cracked, my flashy acrobatics with knives in the kitchen. How wrong we both were about each other, and how happy we have been.
"I Married You", from Queen of a Rainy Country by Linda Pastan. Copyright © 2006 by Linda Pastan. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
Copyright © 1966 by Robert Hayden, from Collected Poems of Robert Hayden, edited by Frederick Glaysher. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.