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About this Poem 

“I abandoned this poem for a while. Then I was reading Eileen Myles and David Lee and Ray McManus. Their work inspired me to go back to it.”
Jillian Weise

Beside You on Main Street

We were stepping out of a reading
in October, the first cold night,
and we were following this couple,
were they at the reading? and because
we were lost, I called out to them,
“Are you going to the after party?”
The woman laughed and said no
and the man kept walking, and she
was holding his hand like I hold yours,
though not exactly, she did not
need him for balance. Then what
got into me? I said, “How long
have you been married?” and she said
“Almost 30 years” and because
we were walking in public, no secret,
tell everyone now it’s official,
I said, “How’s marriage?” The man
kept walking. The woman said,
“It gets better but then it gets different.”
The man kept walking.

Copyright © 2015 by Jillian Weise. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Jillian Weise. Used with permission of the author.

Jillian Weise

Jillian Weise

Jillian Weise is the author of The Book of Goodbyes, which received the 2013 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.

by this poet

It’s not fair. You owe it to the reader. 
We’re trying to help. We have an uncle 
with a disability and he always says 

exactly what it is. Take it from him. 
Take it from us. Take it from them.
You can’t expect people to read you 

if you don’t come out and say it.
Everyone knows the default mode 
of a poem is

At home, a sixteen-year-old son
and window treatments and walls
to paint and “How was your day?”
On the web there are no days
and no seasons and no oil changes
for the Subaru. “No one important.”
At the motel, flat pillows, a lamp 
tall as his son in the corner and 
I want to be disability for you.
Make new signs for you.
They are saying things about us
online in their underwear.
The listserv is blowing up.
Ableist verse, ableist verse
and I’m talking to you.
I’m a green circle for you
and there you go again
into my cover letters.
Pinned your last dispatch
to my Outlook so