Wendy Miller Roberts completed her B.A. degree in English in May 1999 at Biola University and plans to continue studying literature in graduate school. She currently lives in Fullerton, California, with her husband, Jesse, and eight plants. This is her first publication.
You block the door with your wide hips
That curve and make your dress hang funny.
Your hair licks your cheeks
And I want to brush it back for you.
"The hot flashes are weird," you explain
And your new husband doesn't understand them.
"Mine will," I mutter.
I can't think of anything else to say.
You tell me of the twelve-hour labor
You went through just to hold my red body.
I look at my sunburned skin wet with lotion.
I know you notice.
We both know
It was this eighteen-year labor
That has worn you, the sudden last push
That's drained you of strength.
But this time I'm not crying
And your muscles are too tired to hold.
With Jesus, At Night
Sometimes I imagine Jesus in the room
With me while I'm undressing.
I remove my panties carefully
And drop them softly on the closet floor.
He waits patiently.
He is not aroused.
He is God come to visit for the night,
To admire what he made
He doesn't need to explain
I feel safe and unthreatened.
I don't even notice when my nipples
Turn to the cold air.
I am not sexual or beautiful or desirable.
I am plain old flesh
And he just wants to be there.
I crawl in bed beside him.
His legs curl with mine
And I can feel his stomach and chest
Pressed up against my back.
His arms enclose me;
Strong like a man's would,
Safe and truthful like a woman's.
Traveling to Grandma's From Wyoming to Arizona
We would sit in the back of the car
While mom and dad navigated south.
I wanted to see the line that separates
That sudden spot where the snow stacks high
And straight against it drops a proud saguaro.
But we were busy playing cards
Or fighting over pillows
And mom would forget to point it out.
Now I sit in the front,
My husband's hand on my thigh.
I look for that spot
Where I can jump out of the car
And hold out one arm wet with flakes
While the other reddens with the sun.
But it seems the changing
Is much more discreet than I had once imagined
And mom, now the grandma,
As helpless as me.