Lake Effect, Spring 2016, Volume 20: "Nothing Clarion Came of Her, Either"

Nothing Clarion Came of Her, Either

by Gary Lutz

As these things go, a woman I’ll call my wife and a person I’ll call myself were not yet finished burning the bridges between us or even narrowing the sorrow down to something enough like a stick that a third party could at last take into her fingers and snap almost straight down the middle.

Let me at least drag the third party into words, because all we ever did, the three of us—in pairs of her and her, of her and me, never the three of us chordal together—was leave messes of wordedness in the air for any others to have to poke their way through.

And how we two wreaked affection on her!

When you stir a marriage like that, the things that keep rising to the top aren’t, mind you, the choicest stuff.

And I know, I know, people don’t look like what they look like, thank goodness, but here is how she looked at least to me that day of name-calling over complimentary toast in the lobby of the motel: She had built such a fortress out of her unbelovedness that it was tricky to have beheld her for those months as just a plain underneath being with holes some earrings could have filled lyrically enough.