Spouses: Poem by Miriam Sagan

A few days after the 4th, but still relevant. From my book of poetry START AGAIN (Red Mountain, 2022). This is an earlier version than the published one, a bit harsher and I’m in the mood for it.


“What’s that noise?” the wife asks the husband
even after so many years

night noises, raccoons, and the Federal Government
are his problem to solve.

It’s not late, before midnight
“Firecrackers?” he speculates

although it sounds like gunshot
and we’re just blocks from the capitol building

where armed men show the threat of force
against our governor.

That sounds straightforward,
but really I don’t understand

what they want
other than to bully us with a supposed right.

But probably the husband is correct,
It’s midsummer’s night, and America’s birthday

a few weeks away
although frankly I’m not sure

this country of mine
deserves much of a party.

Much later, towards the witching hour
skunks head home and spray

through our bathroom window
that opens on the narrow alley

that creatures use to cross.
The thrashers are sleeping

in the blossoming cholla bush,
not once in all these years

has the invisible neighbor’s orange cat
manage to catch a bird

in all those cactus needles.

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