You gutted me with lies
throughout our wasted years.
Once I questioned if you were happy.
You countered, “Let’s make a baby”
even though you’d already decided
we were a mistake
and sought other beds to warm.

Now, I listen to you lecture our son
on the character of a man.
(The teenager swears he vacuumed;
sock balls, cereal crumbs dispute his facts.)
You preach:
“Your words should mean something,
and doesn’t your mother deserve better?”
I turn so as not to laugh at the hypocrisy.
But in your admonishment, I glimpse
a remnant of the man I married
once upon a time

before deceit devoured us.
Not the monster
that finally ripped us apart,
but the little lies
that gnawed at the edges of us
— like when you curled against me in the dark,
whispered I love you in my ear.
And I swallowed the truth, mumbled
I love you too.