A Polyamorist’s Letter to the Friend Who Accused Me of Wanting Him to Abandon his Wife and Children
Well, we’ve reached the stage of heartbreak known as writing an identity piece about it.
Yes, I could have asked if it was authorized,
should have obtained consent from all parties concerned.
Ever since my crash course became a research project,
I’ve learned all sorts of lovely protocols,
but I’m quite sure they don’t translate
to every 2 A.M. couch,
and though I would never blame the whiskey,
there was whiskey.
And yes, I’m so sorry to say,
I liked being hidden in plain sight,
snuck into poems as stoplights, or windows,
or stars, or the reuptake of serotonin
I’d rather be the not-guilty thing
the one in the stanza about the pulled up dress
and no underwear, not the one thought about in code
two stanzas before.
It’s terrible, yes, even after I knew
I sent a few love notes, and liked receiving them.
We wrote love poems out of our Scrabble words
and had whole musical meta-conversations
via walls and You Tube links
until every mistress movie played in my head and we called it a day.
Nobody thought my side-project jokes were funny.
But friend, I’ve been reading your first drafts
for four years, and I have loved your family
for exactly that long.
You taught me how to sing your daughters to sleep.
We’ve co-written funerals, housefires,
and revelatory road trips
since you first sent me a friend-of-a-friend
I used to live in the family car as a mix tape,
and I’m certain I no longer do.
You are the only one
I have ever taken out a paragraph for.
Here it is, unredacted:
“And I had such an epiphany a little while ago when he posted a beautiful poem about his wife. I guess I thought I might be jealous, but I read it anyway. And a little latch-box opened in my heart and the sun shined out. I was/am genuinely happy that he’s in his real life, loving and loved and writing hot poems for her.”
Some very nice people
made up a very nice word for that.
I don’t think I’ll tell you what it is.
You said something about wanting me
to make your world bigger.
Here’s what I want you to know about that,
but won’t tell you:
1. I am not a window or a star
just a woman as much as your wife and your daughters
with hormones and a stupid clock
and the tendency to want to talk things through. A lot.
2. I know through the magic of poetry that your wife is a top.
The next time you get the urge
to visit the driver’s seat,
remember that the submissive heart
beating beneath you is real
and capable of sending needy texts.
If you can’t answer them, climb off.
3. I will never ask you to give up anything.
If we ever make it back to friendship,
try to remember who I am.
I will never have another friend
to whom I can’t send Xes and Os
to whom I can’t say
“I love you.”
Anyone who expects me to be less
than completely fucking adorable
can just go ahead and fuck off.
I’ll still think of you every April.
I’ll thank you every spring
for everything you taught me