by Ruth Bavetta

Fifty years I worked
the sewing machines.
Kept on even after I married
the salesman with the curly hair
and wide smile. I was past marrying age
by then and glad enough of him.

The vacuum cleaners didn’t sell,
so when I got home from work
he was always there, smiling. It was a year
before I found the bottles hidden
behind the radio. I never learned
to drive, took the bus to work,
but I paid for the house,
and the new car when his broke down.

After they cut off his cogliones
because of the cancer
I divorced him so the State would pay
the hospital and the doctors.
He died anyway.
I’d do it again, though, marry
a man who smiles.

Ruth Bavetta’s poetry has been published in Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Review, North American Review, Rhino, Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Poetry New Zealand and many others. Her poems appear in the anthologies Twelve Los Angeles Poets and Wait a Minute; I Have to Take Off My Bra. She has degrees from the University of Southern California, California State University San Bernardino, and Claremont Graduate University.