With a Little Education
This is what became of the homely high school boy
with the fine hands and big brain: he ended up sliding
his fingers all day into the vaginas of other men’s wives.
Expensive women who book six months ahead
to take off their clothes for him. He keeps them
waiting under a harsh light and thin sheet
before delivering their silver-spoon babies and bad news,
before roving his skilled hands over all the cheerful flesh
once so firmly out of his reach. They send him flowers,
page him after hours, confiding
when their sex lives are painful or dried up entirely.
He coaches them to remind their deal-making,
deposition-taking husbands of the grave
importance of foreplay. He touches their sleeves
as they leave with what could only be mistaken
for tenderness, and smiles, knowing they wonder
what he does with his hands at night. How different
his landscape looks now: his stool a rolling throne,
the world he has mastered spread glorious before him.
If only he had known, when he was pimpled
and pained, that even the hearts of the beautiful burn
in the third trimester, that age bursts in,
without mercy, on everyone, even those girls
as effervescent and confusing as champagne.
If only he’d known how easy it would be,
with a little education, to wake each morning
to a string of women, naked in his offices,
ready for him.
“With a Little Education” first appeared in Rattle.