Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Emily’s Letter to Her Husband’s Lover

by Beate Sigriddaughter

Sometimes I suffer still
from envy of things I don’t want.
It feels like defeat. Truth, like a glacial mirror,
shimmers with reality. Are you, perhaps,
the lucky one whose portion of desire
will not dim with use.

You know things. You gave him a pool cue
as a gift where I’m not even sure how to spell it.

There was a time I dreamed of making love
each day. Soon scent and music were left out.
Desire wilted on the windowsill
while he still tried to soothe me
with his ice-cold hands of generous indifference.
Today—this feels like progress—I don’t envy
you this roller coaster ride, this steep ascent
of open-mouthed anticipation, then
the gentling to a shaky stop.

I slip the curtain from each morning, step
into the sunlight of regret. I almost kept him
on the shelf with all the trophies. He doesn’t belong
there, though my ego keens
about the empty space.

I am grateful I had fire once, a wedding
night, a single sequin on a velvet gown.
I do not want to have my edges dulled
or his. I imagine you together,
he freshly showered, his eyes dripping warmth.
Perhaps you can keep desire alive.
I yearn for my own season of hunger.


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Beate Sigriddaughter

is poet laureate of Silver City, New Mexico (Land of Enchantment), USA. Her work has received several Pushcart Prize nominations and poetry awards. In February 2018, FutureCycle Press published her poetry collection Xanthippe and Her Friends, and Cervená Barva Press will publish her chapbook Dancing in Santa Fe and Other Poems in 2019.

Author’s website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury