husbands complain

the husbands complain all the time
but they really like it
the way it is
mangoes rotting in the yard
ants eating at the foundations
a sour face and dinner is served
they wrap their frozen snouts
in newsprint, potato, commentators and pall malls
while intestines are removed
hearts stop
their wives go insane

don’t try to harvest the mangos
to cool them or give them away
to slice into the fruit
and sweeten the morning
don’t try to change the channel
don’t try to move the house
it’s been there a long time
everybody is accustomed
to the hedges pruned down to thorny sticks
everybody is accustomed
to the fallen mangoes —
bruised, tender, swollen, rotting
in the tropical sun

wendy shaffer

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