Crying in Front of a Man

By Kate Gale Kate Gale
To my first love, I wept profusely.
These tears confused the boy, and he would act.
Generally, he took me out to eat.
I grew fat, sobbing my way into some of the best
restaurants in Richmond.

My first husband ignored the initial shattering of tears.
But if I went on grovelling, wailing long enough
he’d collect me from the floor
give me a bit more grocery money, wipe my eyes
tell me it would be okay by and by.

My second husband despised my tears.
He’d seen women crawl and shake enough,
said the vipers can enter a trance at will
and let their best sobs heave ho to twist a man
and bend him into shape.

I trouble not this third man with my tears.
Have in fact forgotten how to cry
and in forgetting have grown steel eyes,
a molten core like mad Vesuvius, am held in check
by nothing but the weather and the whims of fate.

Kate Gale, “Crying in Front of a Man” from Mating Season. Copyright © 2004 by Kate Gale. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.

Source: Mating Season (Tupelo Press, 2004)

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Poet Kate Gale

Subjects Relationships, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

 Kate  Gale


Kate Gale is the author of several poetry collections, including Mating Season (2004) and Fishers of Men (2000), as well as the novels Lake of Fire (2000) and Water Moccasins (1994). She is the founder and managing editor of Red Hen Press and editor of the Los Angeles Review.

Gale is the author of four librettos: Rio de Sangre with composer Don Davis which was performed in part at Disney Hall in 2005; Paradises Lost, . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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