My tongue fingers the pit
of the olive at the bottom of the third
martini. I am folding his laundry
like I like it, and I almost do,
this well-worn gesture
newly applied. Playing house.
I almost love it, the clamor
and mess he makes for dinner,
how he dirties every pot
and lid. How often

I have practiced for this
domestic position: my posture
nearly perfect, my concerns
inscrutable. My sharp-toothed self
now well-petted and settled,
no longer stalking the birds,
not lingering near the back
door. Which is not locked.
I had a habit once, you know,
of accidentally setting things on fire.
A bagel that caught in the toaster
and swept a fiery lick up the cabinet
over the stove. The patio table
with a spectacular crater left in it
from the citronella torch I tipped
askew on my way to the pool. There were,
too, of course, the multiple times
I have left a candle burning,
poured oil in the cast iron
when it’s still too hot. I have
a habit of believing myself

impenetrable. It was never
on purpose, I say
about the fires, I am just
so clumsy. Can you hear my laugh
as I say it? You must know
I lingered there, in the caustic
luster of them, thought carefully
of letting them go.



Jennifer Funk