You Love, You Wonder

By Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970 Brenda Shaughnessy
You love a woman and you wonder where she goes all night in some tricked-
out taxicab, with her high heels and her corset and her big, fat mouth.

You love how she only wears her glasses with you, how thick
and cow-eyed she swears it’s only ever you she wants to see.

You love her, you want her very ugly. If she is lovely big, you want her
scrawny. If she is perfect lithe, you want her ballooned, a cosmonaut.

How not to love her, her bouillabaisse, her orangina. When you took her
to the doctor the doctor said, “Wow, look at that!” and you were proud,

you asshole, you love and that’s how you are in love. Any expert, observing
human bodies, can see how she’s exceptional, how she ruins us all.

But you really love this woman, how come no one can see this? Everyone must
become suddenly very clumsy at recognizing beauty if you are to keep her.

You don’t want to lose anything, at all, ever. You want her sex depilated, you
want everyone else not blind, but perhaps paralyzed, from the eyes down.

You wonder where she goes all night. If she leaves you, you will know
everything about love. If she’s leaving you now, you already know it.

Brenda Shaughnessy, “You Love, You Wonder” from Interior with Sudden Joy. Copyright © 1999 by Brenda Shaughnessy.  Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1999)

 Brenda  Shaughnessy

Biography

Brenda Shaughnessy earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA from Columbia University. She is the author of Interior with Sudden Joy (1999), Human Dark with Sugar (2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Our Andromeda (2012). Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, the Boston Review, McSweeney’s, and Best American Poetry, among other places. With C.J. Evans, . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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