Edwina Trentham

He Tells His Side

When we sat on the stoop—thick, warm

slab of stone outside her little house—

the summer after she took me back, I gave her

every chance to tell the truth, begged her to tell me

should I go ahead and tear down the rotting

trees from that hill we’d seen, tumble the great

boulders into the lake, thicken the earth

with concrete, and throw up glass walls to let

the light soothe her frozen heart?


She sat still, the way she would, as if

no-one was there, then reached to lace

her fingers through mine, leaned to let the dark

spill of her hair hide her eyes, stretched

her bare legs in the sun, and lied.


Yes, the house of light fell through, yes,

the mansion I bought for her instead

honed her to angles, carved her to hollows,

yes, I hated to see her hunched beside the open

oven door for warmth, huddled in the center

of our bed, drowning in quilts, and once

I caught her spreading her hand against

the window pane, catching the thin winter

sun, so she could count the bones, she said.


And yes, I found her notebooks, took a red

pen to her spider scrawls to let

my broken heart bleed on her lies.  How else

could I show her I was the only one

who truly understood her suffering?