MY DOG LIFTED HIS LEG
and pissed on the painter’s finished
canvas, the housewarming gift he gave us
two or three places ago. We have crated
and uncrated this still life each time
we decided to uproot and start again.
There was the house with the catalpa
tree, leaves big as my splayed hands together
its seed pods that dangled, brown and long
like cigars. There was a yellow
house on a hill with crumbling cement
steps—there you read from long texts
and I taught myself to knit.
When did the painter fall from our
favor, I ask you. Was it when he slammed
his vodka then called us all children?
Or when he lost a game of racquetball,
a smear of sweat on his cheek, and insisted
you were cheating. Even after that, I think
you sat with him, fishing, silent for hours.
But I could be wrong. My memory isn’t
always to be trusted. I think it was when,
second hand, I heard that he said he was glad
his estranged wife had died from cervical
cancer, that she had gotten
what she deserved for leaving him.
Things can be idyllic and then ugly.
A basket of pears in ochre, then piss the same color.
Barbara Costas-Biggs lives in Southerm Ohio. She works as a librarian and (occasionally) as an adjunct faculty member at Shawnee State University teaching English Composition. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared recently in Jarfly, Glass, Moria, District Lit, Literary Mama, and others. She also has also been a member the juried poetry series Women of Appalachia: Women Speak.