Rebecca K. Reynolds

Honest Company for the Journey

Leah

I wonder how it felt to be Leah,

that handsome young man showing up

from out of town,

the flutter of maybe-he-could

before you remember

why he'll never even see you.

 

You watch him for seven years,

stumbling over his love for your pretty sister

while you carry letters back and forth between them.

"Tell her I love her," he says to you,

looking through you, and when she flushes

she is so beautiful.

 

Then the pang, knowing

you're the schoolmarm

reading a romance novel,

the crazy cat lady,

the cosplay queen who

tries to laugh it off.

The spectator.

 

But you're not a spectator,

you're part of a bad deal, a wife swap,

and for one night you find out

what it is like to be wanted more than life,

to hear praises roll off his tongue

as he gasps.

 

"You are so beautiful," he says in the pitch dark,

"So perfect," he whispers over you and

kisses you on your forehead,

telling you he would have worked twice as long

for you, then sleeps with his hand

on the bare turn of your hip before

the dawn that breaks with a shout.

 

"The ugly one!"

"Where is my real wife?"

"Where is the woman I actually wanted!"

 

Leah still sore, still shy, still naked

from the first night and the last night

he would ever be more than animal with her,

pulls the sheet over her shoulder and turns away,

numb.

 

How then did Leah learn to turn her ugly eyes

up to the God who made her a freak show?

And after finding out how sweet

a human mouth tastes,

after knowing what was being spoken

in the next tent over while she learned insomnia,

how did she learn to drink at last

from the rimless cup of God?

 

By Odilon Redon "Woman with a Veil" 

By Odilon Redon

"Woman with a Veil"