Anne Germanacos

Sometimes you have to kill the husband, as much as it kills you, too, to do so. This is a psychological death—he'll probably be watching soccer on t.v. as it happens. It's painless. He remains unaware, sorry only when his team loses. The death takes time, hours or even days but, once enacted, you breathe freely, love him with more passion. He may never even know, rapt in his game, his imaginary wins and loses, the goals missed and scored.

Marriage, a recycling

In marriage one learns to make of even the most unfortunate-seeming events or emotions something.

Even bad sex: Married, you don't always have the luxury of calling it so.

Boxed In

It's calm today and almost sunny. But those tall bulky trees he's planted block the view of hills, sea, sky. He's boxed us in. Trees aren't always beautiful. I'm sorry.


Each day is a strange meditation. A negotiable meditation? A meditation in fits and starts. A challenge, a boast, a conjecture, a slam.


Reaching into your pocket, you feel something warm and almost human, not quite slick. You think: We don't even USE condoms anymore, and why would there be one in here, anyway? Anxious, you pull out a three-day old carnation, red, and folded in on itself. It still holds scent.


The quiet of a windless day. The world is huge but intimate. You feel you can call out to someone across the planet.


My husband came back from the doctor with a swollen hand. He'd gone for a check-up but the hand had intervened. The doctor wrote out a prescription for a cream, and later made my husband exhale into a glass. It was a weak exhalation, and strangely so for a swimmer. Why are his breaths so shallow?

After raw cabbage doused in lemon juice, pepper, and sea salt, I sit in direct sun to think. Meanwhile, he's sleeping. By the time he's awake and knocking around in his heavy clogs, I've got it figured out.

You, I tell him, need to learn how to breathe. From the start. In and out. Slowly!

He stands in front of me and breathes shallowly, into his chest.

NO, I say, breathe into your belly, the way babies do.
He says: But I'm not a baby. Then turns and stomps off in his noisy clogs.

My vision is this: Slow deep breaths would cure his ills. Impatience and arrogance and tiredness. Wrinkles and rogue hairs! Low blood sugar and irritability. I know it would work, but I can't breathe for him.

Dead Bulbs

He's always letting light bulbs die. At night, we move around like readers of a different braille, our hands grabbing empty space.


She felt as if her secrets kept popping out.


When it started raining (just before nine this morning), he went to get the camera. The sun was shining through the drops so there was actually something to capture, but still—taking pictures of the rain?


These clouds, and my inability to do anything but mark their existence by using the word that refers to them—sunlit puffs, their bottoms grey.


Have I poisoned the well? Do we sip water containing traces of poison?
Isn't it all a slow-dying anyway?
And if not slow, then fast.


The necessity of giving up something forever.
The impossibility of doing so.


My husband's shoes are so noisy they should be jailed. 

He's angry with me for wearing my outside shoes inside.


Those crazy birds (a pair flying into the glass door, trying to get to the light)—is that us?


Today, the Easter scent and the quiet of the spring day force themselves on our consciousness. And of course there's no getting around the roses, like dollops of frosting on the vines.


Or everything. Depends on how you look at it, and at what time, from what angle, through which drop of water.


How can I have said the things I did today?
What hysteria? What ridiculous desire to destroy?

He's everything to me.

My stomach.
My gut. My esophagus.

My weather.
My constant weather.


His heart encompasses mine.
Our hands a circle.
My feet, his kidneys.
His eyes, my lips.

Chlorine and Liver

The house reeks of chlorine. She believes in it, like a god or a saint, and wraps us in the spell of it every other Sunday when she cleans.  In the meantime, he's frying liver in the kitchen.

Chlorine and liver. Like some kind of curse. 


We have entirely peaceful hours by the fire, sitting opposite one another, reading. A peace that wells up into moments of love so strong you can only shy away from them.


I sent him on an Easter egg hunt of I love you's. He left one short note between my wallet and passport. When I found it, I cried.


So she was there with her husband, in the thick of winter, at last.


Sometimes even from across the street or another room in the house, the distance is piercing.


And then there's him, you—husband, lover, friend—maker.