Edwina Trentham

What He Does for Her

Pastes newspaper over the ice-spangled

windows to warm up his cramped apartment

the weekend she tells him she’s coming back.

 

Buys a tiny heat lamp, hangs it to gild

her naked body.  Ignores her comments

about the banner across the turnpike

 

bridge, the one he hung after she fled—

a queen-size bed-sheet, thick lettered: I meant

no harm. Forgive me. Manages to crack,

 

a smile when she teases, musing out loud

about the number of women who won’t

drive on that road now because he sounds like

 

their crazy ex-boyfriends. Leans to hold

her gaze, to ask how long she’ll stay, counts

to ten, tries not to let the fury spike,

 

when she turns her golden back, her head

on the thin pillow, and tells him gently,

forever, leaves him to lie awake,

 

matching his breath to hers, to keep her safe.