Never Odd or Even - Bryn Gribben

The collective sigh of relief is an insult,

as if the least favorite relative is dead at last

and, finally, the china goes where it should.

Always, I have lived alone,

and, in my own mind, never odd or even

slightly off, perhaps off-handed,

like these cooings meant as blessings—

SO glad for you, FINALLY a decent man,

you’ve struggled for so long—and the questions

about his kids mount like dirty laundry

they were sure I’d stuffed into a closet with

my dignity, but I have questions of my own

that demand answers of a higher order:

Was It A Rat I Saw?

Do Geese See God?

Eva, Can I Stab Bats in a Cave?

Dammit, I’m Mad.

For all the poems and pie crusts and the

present of myself I’ve offered over and again,

returning and refining, collaborating with

the origin of myself, a palindrome,

they think it’s only my engagement that finishes the sentence.

Married darlings, I’ve seen the moon more times

than you’ve read a child good night to it,

found words for beating hearts in Greek,

had sex in cars you only take for tune-ups now.

Doc, Note: I Dissent. A Fast Never Prevents

a Fatness. I Diet On Cod.

I pour my lover and myself a drink

to wash down all the rage

like wedding cake on a dry day.

I know you want the best for me,

but that’s what I’ve always been:

my best backwards and forwards.

I’ve named myself and all my lands;

before I found him, I found myself,

and I’m not changing my name now.

Madam, in Eden, I’m Adam.

Bryn Gribben is a senior lecturer of English at Seattle University, teaching literature, creative non-fiction, and composition, but her SU students call her their steampunk fairy godmother. She has taught at the Richard Hugo House, was the co-editor of fiction for The Laurel Review, and is currently the creative non-fiction managing editor for Big Fiction Magazine. Bryn's work can be found in Superstition Review, The Rappahannock Review, River River, the HCE Review, among others, and her poem “The Postmaster General Declares Lynching Postcards Unmailable” is included in the anthology Suitcase of Chrysanthemums, from great weather for MEDIA. Tilde nominated Bryn’s essay "Cabin” for a 2019 Pushcart Prize. Please feel free to find an agent for her manuscript, Amplified Heart: An Emotional Discography, a series of essays on intimacy and music.

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