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Diane Lockward



Diane Lockward is an American poet. The author of four full-length books of poetry, Lockward serves as the Poet Laureate of West Caldwell, New Jersey. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Elmira College and her master’s from Montclair State University. She is the author of four full-length books of poetry: The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement (2016), Temptation by Water (2010), What Feeds Us (2006), recipient of the Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress (2003), all from Wind Publications. She is also the author of a poetry craft book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop (2013), and two chapbooks, Eve Argues Against Perfection (1997) and Greatest Hits: 1997-2010 (2012). Her poems have been published in Prairie Schooner, Spoon River Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Her poems have also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac. She is the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and serves as the Poet Laureate of West Caldwell, New Jersey. She founded the Poetry Festival: A Celebration of Literary Journals in 2004 and has served as its director for twelve years. A former high school English teacher at Millburn High School, she has also worked as a poet-in-the-schools for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. She lives in northern New Jersey. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

I honestly did not KNOW — still don’t know — how I feel about this poem. I will be very curious to see what you all think of it. So please share if you have thoughts one way or another!!!


My Husband Discovers Poetry

Because my husband would not read my poems,
I wrote one about how I did not love him.
In lines of strict iambic pentameter,
I detailed his coldness, his lack of humor.
It felt good to do this.

Stanza by stanza, I grew bolder and bolder.
Towards the end, struck by inspiration,
I wrote about my old boyfriend,
a boy I had not loved enough to marry
but who could make me laugh and laugh.
I wrote about a night years after we parted
when my husband’s coldness drove me from the house
and back to my old boyfriend.
I even included the name of a seedy motel
well-known for hosting quickies.
I have a talent for verisimilitude.

In sensuous images, I described
how my boyfriend and I stripped off our clothes,
got into bed, and kissed and kissed,
then spent half the night telling jokes,
many of them about my husband.
I left the ending deliberately ambiguous,
then hid the poem away
in an old trunk in the basement.

You know how this story ends,
how my husband one day loses something,
goes into the basement,
and rummages through the old trunk,
how he uncovers the hidden poem
and sits down to read it.

But do you hear the strange sounds
that floated up the stairs that day,
the sounds of an animal, its paw caught
in one of those traps with teeth of steel?
Do you see the wounded creature
at the bottom of the stairs,
his shoulders hunched over and shaking,
fist in his mouth and choking back sobs?
It was my husband paying tribute to my art.