“How to Argue,” by Melody Wilson

Aug 20th, 2021 | By | Category: Poetry

“For a successful marriage,” the grandmother said,” Always argue in the nude.”

I recall this adage from the Seventh Circle—
no Beatrice in sight and think “Right!”
Lot of good that would do.

Then I imagine.
At each use of foul language, we will both remove one article of clothing.

“You Prick!” I cry—blinded by words.
I remove my blouse; you your jeans.

I pace, funny in my bra. You are serene on the chair,
arrogant in your briefs—still, you leap to your feet—
into my face—”Bitch!”
Hurt, I exhale, pull off my jeans; you your shirt.

We are standing, tired and angry, we
brush. Your thigh meets mine, our eyes
drop their guard—an instant,
and we have found each other.

This is ten years ago.

Tonight, “Moron,” I might cry,
and you, “Bitch!”
And the blouse and the jeans
and the jeans and the blouse
and “Asshole,” and “Bitch!”
I have always been the more creative—
and we find ourselves standing
knee deep in laundry,
pot-bellied and sagging
with energy only
to laugh.


Melody Wilson has an Academy of American Poets Award before beginning her teaching career. She returned to poetry in 2019 and received a 2020 Kay Snow Poetry Award. Recent work appears in Front Porch Review, One Art Poetry Review, Quartet and failbetter. Upcoming work will be in Cirque, Briar Cliff Review, Tar River Poetry, Whale Road Review, and Timberline Review.

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