When they asked me to describe my wife
I found I couldn’t. Her face was still and steady
and clear in my mind
yet I found I couldn’t say the words to describe
her features. I went dumb, blank. A slack-jawed mute.
They glanced at one another. Eventually I found
I could spit out some small, useless details.
The single black bristle that would occasionally sprout
from her chin. Her tendency to wear bras
a few sizes too large. I hummed them the melody
of that little tune she’d sing to herself
when she was feeling particularly satisfied
with herself, but they weren’t interested.
I told them she liked Dalmatians, and saffron,
and Dolly Parton. I knew I wasn’t being helpful.
I flipped through my phone looking for pictures
of her, but all my photos were of parking lots
and humorous church signs, the only videos I ever took
were of the stray cats we left food out for
on the back porch.
They sighed and thanked me and drove off.
You can come out now, I said when they were gone,
and she came tumbling out of my mouth,
her own words arranging themselves before me,
describing her form better than I ever could