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Becoming The Other

Betsy Struthers
From:   Driven. Black Moss Press, 2000.


They are always talking about commitment: hers to him, his to his
family. The greatest good for the greatest number

and he has four children, the youngest is five. A boy should have
a man's example means a son should live with his father

so she sees her teenage son on weekends. Supposed to be
practicing, he slouches on the piano stool while her lover

sits with her at the kitchen table, sipping wine, glancing at
his watch. Heart and soul her son picks out over and over and

she wants to scream at him to stop playing games, to grow up,
before it's too late, before he's caught

as she's been caught in middle age, when she should know better,
when she should be used to sleeping by herself

even if someone else is in her bed. Reciting the alphabet of sin:
scarlet A, the ex, the why. And she's sick of it all, the exhilarated

pulse when she sees this man, hears his voice, when she can't
help the shivers, fever that flushes her face, melts

her, fills her eyes, seeps from her groin. She gasps
for breath, her whole chest in a vice, her hand

so numb she can barely lift the phone when it rings. Call it
angina, call it love. Either way, it's nausea

that bends her double. The look on her son's face, the averted
gaze of her lover. How did this choice become

imperative, how did she, who only longs to be the one, the
only one, become the other?



Betsy Struthers's works copyright © to the author.


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