After Begging My Students, for the 87th Time, to Go Beyond Physical Description in Their Love Poems
Updated: Jan 16
By Juliana Gray
In the final year of my young marriage, I drove
across the Mississippi state line
to teach in Alabama. Eighty miles,
three days a week, the two-lane blacktop
littered with armadillos, often sobbing
over music as loud as I could bear.
Our house would be dark, my husband asleep,
his late two-hour nap one of many
avoidances we’d perfected. And yet,
before he slept, he’d place a bottle of beer –
Rolling Rock, or whatever cheap stuff
we drank back then – inside the freezer for me.
I’d dump my papers, pop the cap, and take
a long, grateful pull, icy splinters
melting to seafoam, soothing my throat. Now:
can’t you see the kind of man he was,
and why I used to love him? Who cares what color
his eyes were? I think they must have been brown.
Juliana Gray’s most recent poetry collection is Honeymoon Palsy (Measure Press 2017). Recent poems have appeared in Willow Springs, The Shore, and elsewhere. An Alabama native, she lives in western New York and teaches at Alfred University.