We Figured on a Lifetime

Christopher Merkner

I love your mouth, I tell her, and he is correct, my wife thinks, he really does love my mouth, but then she is not sure which is worse: that her husband kisses her mouth in the awful way he has grown to kiss it (he had been better than this, you bet, god as her witness it was surely better than what it's become), or that her husband has come to speak in this cheap and selfish way about the object of his pleasure. And then something else occurs to her: Perhaps he does not love her mouth at all, and perhaps she can no longer discern what he does and does not love, because he says he loves everything, and the mouth is so vague, and perhaps her husband has simply begun occupying her mind. Indeed, what has happened to her mind? Has this man silently slipped inside her and taken up dwelling there, drinking from his filthy coffee mug on the couch of her soul, hanging his dirty toiletries on her chestbones, worrying the same loose door handles, jiggling all night long and banging around with screw drivers in her spine—is he in her now? Is this what we've made of intercourse? She nearly yells, I feel it, but in a bright light of late afternoon seething through the window blinds she pops up from our bed and studies her me. No, thank god, and his mouth like the future looks like an anus.