Twenty-year Marriage

By Ai 1947–2010 Ai
You keep me waiting in a truck
with its one good wheel stuck in the ditch,   
while you piss against the south side of a tree.
Hurry. I’ve got nothing on under my skirt tonight.   
That still excites you, but this pickup has no windows   
and the seat, one fake leather thigh,   
pressed close to mine is cold.   
I’m the same size, shape, make as twenty years ago,   
but get inside me, start the engine;   
you’ll have the strength, the will to move.   
I’ll pull, you push, we’ll tear each other in half.
Come on, baby, lay me down on my back.   
Pretend you don’t owe me a thing   
and maybe we’ll roll out of here,   
leaving the past stacked up behind us;
old newspapers nobody’s ever got to read again.

Ai, “Twenty-year Marriage” from Vice: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1999 by Ai. Reprinted with the permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., www.nortonpoets.com.

Source: Vice: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1999)

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Poet Ai 1947–2010

Subjects Marriage & Companionship, Love, Men & Women, Living, Relationships, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

Occasions Anniversary

Poetic Terms Free Verse

   Ai

Biography

Ai is a poet noted for her uncompromising poetic vision and bleak dramatic monologues which give voice to marginalized, often poor and abused speakers. Though born Florence Anthony, she legally changed her name to Ai which means “love” in Japanese. She has said that her given name reflects a “scandalous affair my mother had with a Japanese man she met at a streetcar stop” and has no wish to be identified “for all eternity” with . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Marriage & Companionship, Love, Men & Women, Living, Relationships, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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