POETRY / Contemporary Poets: 24 Selima Hill
Sunday 24 January 1993
eroticism and surreality; her fourth, A Little Book of Meat, will
be published in March. She lives by the sea in Lyme Regis.
BEING A WIFE
So this is what it's like being a wife.
The body I remember feeling as big as America in,
the thighs so far away
his hand had to ride in an aeroplane to get there;
the giggles I heard adults giggling with
I was puzzled about,
and felt much too solemn to try;
buttons unbuttoned by somebody else, not me;
neither of us were able to stop what we were doing
to turn off;
the smell of fish
I dreaded I'd never get used to,
the peculiar, leering, antediluvian taste
I preferred not to taste;
the feeling of being on the edge of something
everyone older than us,
and not understood,
as we were about to do;
his pink hand gripping my breast
as if his life depended on it;
the shame of the thought of the mirror
reflecting all this,
seem long ago,
yet somehow authentic and right.
Being a wife is like acting being a wife,
and the me that was her with him in the past is still me.
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