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.
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,
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?