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  4. Are All the Break-Ups in Your Poems Real? by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Are All the Break-Ups in Your Poems Real?

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If by real you mean as real as a shark tooth stuck
in your heel, the wetness of a finished lollipop stick,
the surprise of a thumbtack in your purse—
then Yes, every last page is true, every nuance,
bit, and bite. Wait. I have made them up—all of them—
and when I say I am married, it means I married
all of them, a whole neighborhood of past loves.
Can you imagine the number of bouquets, how many
slices of cake? Even now, my husbands plan a great meal
for us—one chops up some parsley, one stirs a bubbling pot
on the stove. One changes the baby, and one sleeps
in a fat chair. One flips through the newspaper, another
whistles while he shaves in the shower, and every single
one of them wonders what time I am coming home.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "Are All the Break-Ups in Your Poems Real?" from Lucky Fish. Copyright © 2011 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil.  Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.
Source: Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press, 2011)
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Are All the Break-Ups in Your Poems Real?

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