Happily Married

Madison Mullen

She crawls into bed with the same man every night / but it’s not him


“Yes, yes! I need you.”

She cries


Once his bride—maybe she was something borrowed / something blue

Ten years prior (and, yes, they’d been in love)

However now someone different in view


There had been so many trampoline-flung thoughts of how to fix / this . . .


Every morning the same:

She stands in the bedroom / before he wakes / her red silk

He pays no mind


She watches

He slides on his loafers / cinches his tie and says:

“Tomorrow will be different”

But she can’t hear him; he’s in his head again


“Tomorrow’s going to be different”


Work summons / an excuse, really:

Clock-in / clock-out

Step from Grand Central / a taxi to / a taxi back

He wants a car to park in a driveway but can’t afford it

He cares

She doesn’t


He’s home—

His eyes meet the rough coir welcome mat / the sound of the rustling woven strings from old coconuts imported from islands


The place is empty.

This must be a game, a rouse

He moves into the bedroom, onto the bed

The sheets, warm, he collapses; he dreams


He opens his eyes

As fiery skin claps against him / animalistic, harmonic



“I can’t! I won’t!”

He pulls a pistol from the end-table




He rolls across the wrestled sheets / opens the wooden drawer

It needs beeswax, smoothed against its guide rails




He counts the rounds / push-thumbing out each

He returns them—snaps them inside and smacks his palm against it / releases


“Please, please! Oh yes”

“I want you. I want you”

“I want nothing more than this, you are what I want”

“Stay with me forever”


He giggles / as if he was eavesdropping

This was it


Four short minutes

Their breath is hot / it’s heavy as a forest rain

She rises from the man’s body / steals the silken sheets / finally sees her skin pink


“What the hell are you doing?”

“Something I should have done before”


He brings the gun up / pulls back the hammer

(Their eyes are wide open)

He pulls the trigger / many times over

Static fills his ears


As she feels his heart beat close to death.