Literary Salt  
 poetry | Kathleen Flenniken | issue 4

Women at Well, Kathmandu
Women at Well, Kathmandu
William Thompson

Out Of Cupid's Range

Those crowded rooms that once enchanted her
are placid. Cool. She sips her wine, blinks,
a debate erupts over timeshares, she asks

after children and the elderly
and driving home with her husband
she travels the exact speed of the car.

Her mind for the imperfectly handsome,
for expressive hands and phrasing
is pleasantly blank. This is a state

of grace, living out of Cupid's range,
waking, sleeping, keeping the checkbook
balanced and laundry clean. Clarity

on the order of religion. She's introduced
to Jane's secret amour, a man
who smolders, who charms longshoremen

and corporate raiders, and from here
lust between two private school cum laudes
resembles twitterpation, a filmstrip

on puberty complete with dotted lines.
It's really the gorillas at the zoo she loves
to contemplate, caged together and mated thus,

picking nits off each other's backs.
It's that brand of animal tenderness
that still moves her taciturn heart.

Oh, Cupid has shadowed her, aimed
and shot his narcotized arrow more than once.
The gods have poked their fun. When Jupiter

pressed Captain Kirk to Ohura for a joke,
didn't their lips burn just the same
and for the rest of the season? Even now

she sometimes wakes at night and wonders
why the gods should be so pitiless. She tosses,
sighs, discovers her sleeping husband

is alert to her touch. Without a kiss,
without a name or endearment spoken,
she brings him to life in her hand.

Cupid, do you remember marriage,
the long climb out of our solitary bodies,
those secret meetings reacquainting in the dark?

Out of range of your slinging arrows. Below.

Kathleen Flenniken

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