National Poetry Month Day 13: “Coupling” by Kelli Russell Agodon



When I said, I don’t remember, what I meant was
I wasn’t paying attention, or Quiet, I’m reading.

Similar to when I said, We should clean the living room,
what I meant was, Get your crap off the couch

or You are probably the messiest person on earth,
because I am the neatnik you married, except sometimes

when I check out of household chores
to lock myself in my office and fantasize

about living alone. Perhaps when I say, I love you,
what I’m saying is, I have no other understanding

of another way to live. And maybe I am the one
who’s always asking for extras or extra credit,

extra tartar sauce on the side
of our sweet-potato fries. So when we fall

into bed together as we will, or into a routine
of too much sex or not enough vegetables,

I realize I could never make you a balance
sheet with all my faults because there isn’t

paper long enough and maybe what I really should be
saying is: Thank you for not killing me in my sleep.


Kelli Russell Agodon is a poet, writer, and editor from the Pacific Northwest whose current collection of poems is titled Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press 2014). She is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press where she works as an editor and the co-director of Poets on the Coast.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →