2014-04-22 13:30:37

Your Daily Poem: Victoria Lynne McCoy

Ed. note: For National Poetry Month, we’re highlighting one feminist poem each day in April. See the whole series here.


Today’s poem is “On the Day It Became Legal to Rape Your Wife” from Victoria Lynne McCoy.


On the Day It Became Legal to Rape Your Wife


Somewhere, a couple celebrated

an anniversary, laid out a blanket

beneath a chandelier of willow tree,

pressed into each other so carefully

not even the fallen leaves broke open.

Somewhere, a woman cleared her throat

and a man who spoke only enough body

language to translate this as uncertainty

removed his vagabond hands

from her waistline. Somewhere

a father put down a bottle, picked up

his daughter, and somewhere a father who was not

yet a father decided to stay. Somewhere

a man who’d spent most of his life turning

bricks into other people’s houses

washed his calloused fingers before bathing

his brittle mother in the bathtub of the only home

he’s ever known. Someone’s son

held the door open for a sun-dressed

stranger, or steadied a ladder

because his dad finally remembered

to touch up the trim. Somewhere a baritone

voice said Marry me and the girl who trusted

the weight of those shoulders said yes.

On the day nothing happened

to the man in Afghanistan who scarred

the insides of his wife’s thighs

from all that prying, somewhere else

love was trying harder.


Originally appeared in the June 2010 issue of Pank Magazine.


sm-bio Syreeta McFadden is a co-curator of Poets In Unexpected Places.


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