She kisses little diagonal lipstick cuts on his neck and
sucks bitter tea through clenched teeth. Her ribs
are a box of barbed wire and knives. She is
a bouquet of blue and purple roses down her sides.
He bounces her like a rubber ball because she isn’t
a supermodel or keeping the kids quiet, because
he didn’t like dinner. She has become clumsy,
walking into doors – she tries to be
his magazine-fuelled variety, his centre (that cannot hold).
Her friends have tried to blow the ice crystals
from her eyes, but he is her lover, knight, Father-Confessor,
husband. She bore him three children, one, or none,
yet she is tough as iron nails with a brass screw loose
and she loves him for better or worse, till death…
First published in The Press (Christchurch), 2000? 2001?