“What I Would Do” by Marc Petersen
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
What I Would Do
If my wife were to have an affair, I would walk to my toolbox in the garage, Take from it my 12" flathead screwdriver And my hickory-handle hammer, The one that helped me build three redwood fences, And I would hammer out the pins In all the door hinges in the house, And I would pull off all the doors And I would stack them in the backyard. And I would empty all the sheets from the linen closet, And especially the flannels we have slept between for nineteen winters; And I would empty all the towels, too, The big heavy white towels she bought on Saturdays at Target, And the red bath towels we got for our wedding, And which we have never used; And I would unroll the aluminum foil from its box, And carry all the pots and pans from the cupboards to the backyard, And lay this one long sheet of aluminum foil over all our pots and pans; And I would dump all the silverware from the drawer Onto the driveway; and I would push my motorcycle over And let all its gas leak out, And I would leave my Jeep running at the curb Until its tank was empty or its motor blew up, And I would turn the TV up full-blast and open all the windows; And I would turn the stereo up full-blast, With Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on it, Schiller's "Ode to Joy," really blasting; And I would strip our bed; And I would lie on our stripped bed; And I would see our maple budding out the window. I would see our maple budding out our window, The hummingbird feeder hanging from its lowest bough. And my cat would jump up to see what was the matter with me. And I would tell her. Of course, I would tell her. From her, I hold nothing back.
Copyright by Marc Petersen.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Marc Petersen. Copyright by Marc Petersen. For further permissions information, contact Marc Petersen, 2121 Bruscuard Drive, Santa Clara, CA 95051-1944.
About the Poet
Marc Petersen is a poet and photographer from Santa Clara California. His poems have appeared in several magazines, including Narrative, The Sun, The Georgia Review and The Nebraska Review.
Learn more about Marc Petersen at Narrative Magazine.