The Poetry of Karla Huston
       When she tries to say a prayer,
her husband snores and her words
       get stuck in each gasp of please
gods and thank yous, and all she can think
       about is pinching his lips shut
so he'll quit. And she remembers
       how sometimes he has quit breathing,
and his breath returns in a liquid
       gulp and she exhales, folds her hands
into a thin and knotty chapel.
       Mouthing the words again, she thinks
about the coarse mole on his cheek,
       how he has forgotten to make
that appointment, but then a truck
       idles outside, and the trash man stops,
sees the empty bottles and wonders
       who drinks all that red wine. She tries
to remember a sure benediction,
       while the dog squeals from the bottom
of the stairs, and her husband rumbles
       on, and she imagines the doctor now
looking at her husband's cheek, his eyes
       glazed with disinterest until something
strikes his fancy and then he shakes
       his head, her husband's cheek wearing
a blue wound, her own nose pressed tight
       into a pillow when she starts to pray again.
Previously published in North Coast Review, The Wisconsin Academy Review and the chapbook: Flight Patterns, winner of the 2003 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest, 2003.