Mar/Apr 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 2 PoetryMarch 2, 2022 |

Fatigue

I come home to announce my second fender bender in six months. Where is it I go, my husband wants to know. On the TV, a man says women are just like skyscrapers. Next thing I know I am one. And so is Jan from across the street, and Lynn, and Pam too — it’s just like he said. We look down at our husbands who stare at each other from the restful windows of the houses we used to live in. None of them leave all day or for days after. Jobs quickly disappear, and therefore the news, and therefore the war. Someone tries to call a meeting but the phone tree is dead. I hear them plan: soon they’ll move out of their houses and into us. They’ll carry mattresses and tables on their backs, up our utility stairs, make new homes and offices. Anyone seen the stapler? someone says every hour or so. Nights they toss, make lists, check the kids only to find them talking to the dark. Months pass, or years, a cottony gauze hangs over their world, car keys disappear. At the grocery

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Ryann Stevenson is the author of the forthcoming Human Resources, winner of the 2021 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize (Milkweed Editions, June 2022). Her poems have appeared in The Adroit Journal, Bennington Review, Columbia Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, and Denver Quarterly, among others.

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