Never Seen

By Daniel Ruefman

She peeks through the blinds
as her husband dips a hose
in the blue plastic pool,
across the yard from their daughters,
motionless in their red power wheels,
towels draping their shoulders,
waiting for word that the water is ready.

He lights a cigarette,
grips it between his yellowed teeth,
grins and waves at the neighbor mowing
an adjacent, square plot of suburbia,
his dog stirring the contents
of the pool with his legs,
lapping it up as he moves.

Inside, she wrangles brown bottles
from his one-man-party,
in the game room, office,
bathroom, and kitchen,
until the sound of bag on bag
chimes in the trash bin.

While their girls splash in the water,
he unwraps the foil
from a Bartles and Jaymes,
downs it in one, sets the bottle
on the trunk of his car,
and pulls another from the fridge,

in denial of threats incarnate
living in the manila folders
on the kitchen counter
next to the calendar
with weeks ticked off in red,
two days before the words—
divorce final.


Daniel Ruefman is a widely published poet whose work has appeared in dozens of periodicals, including Red Earth Review, Torrid Literature Journal, Barely South Review, Minetta Review, SLAB, FLARE: the Flagler Review, Burningword, and others. He is author of the chapbook, Breathe Automatic, released in 2014 by Finishing Line Press. Daniel currently teaches writing at the University of Wisconsin—Stout.