Mary Mackey





Juliet

I was a green girl
fourteen and fresh
my breasts curled
so tight in my chest
that they ached
time pulled through
my body like sap
and I thought love
grew everywhere
like milkweed

Romeo was a human
swagger
we drove over the state
line near the end
of spring
and were married by
a judge in stripped
pajamas
who loaned us a
cigar band
for a ring

I said
look how the dogwood is
in bloom
like the lips of small children
in the naked woods
and Romeo said
let’s stop
for a cheeseburger

I said 
when I see a river
I imagine a mouth
at the end
that could swallow us
both

I said
this is the beginning
of a great adventure
I said 
I have escaped 
into love
and I’ll never be
unhappy again

but there was wax 
to take off the kitchen floor
and diapers to wash
and Romeo snored
and I found that love
grows around the heart
like the bark on a
tree
and we had three
children
and nobody died
and you can wait forever
for the balcony scene