“This Life” by Jack Grapes

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

My wife is getting dressed,

rushing off to see her clients.

She puts a top on that comes down past her navel,

barely covering her pubic hair.

But when she sits on the bed to pull up socks,

the chemise rises up, exposing hair between her legs.

She puts one leg up, resting her heel on the bed’s edge.

Her legs a few inches apart.

Her pubic hair and mound clearly visible.

It’s enough.

This altar. This sacred, secret, sanctified,


I stop by the TV and ask her

when she’s coming home,

do I pick up Josh today,

are we going to David & Gina’s for dinner on Saturday,

should I get bread and milk at J-Market

or what?

“What,” she says.

I’m talking, she’s got her head down working on the sock,

no, I think it’s panty hose or tights,

something like that,

something complicated that requires her full attention

I’m talking but I’m really looking at her pubic hair, her sacred

whatchamacallit, that is . . . . and is not . . . . her,

the embodiment of everything,

the symbol of nothing but itself.

This is when . . . . I think . . . . maybe not . . . . but probably so.

this is when I love her the most,

when she’s putting on socks, half-naked,

paying little attention to me.

“What?” she says.

She’s not even listening to me.

“Should I pick up Josh,” I say,

“and what about the bread and milk?”

Actually, I’m not really talking to her, either.

I’m looking at her pussy

while she struggles with this complicated long sock or something,

her head down, working it fold by fold past her heel

and ankle, then up the calf, over the knee,

up the thigh, finally standing

and jumping up and down, small little jumps,

as she tugs the last part above her pubic hair,

above the navel.

She rims the elastic with her thumb,

gives it a snap, then looks up at me,

finally. She gives her head a shake,

straightening her hair for her clients,

getting all neat and composed and psychotherapeutic,

her sacred whatchamacallit covered by a gauze curtain,

and in a minute, by the dress.

I’m looking at her,

thinking of that Grecian pottery

where Aphrodite rises from the sea,

her sandstone naked body

gravely and glistening in its classical flesh.

“What?” she asks.

“Do I pick up Josh today?”

“Yeah. Is that okay?”


We stand there, holding everything

unsaid that seems to float along with the dust motes

made visible finally by the first light of the morning

coming through the blinds.

When you coming home?” I ask.


“Don’t forget my class starts at 7.”

“I won’t.”

Then she’s off, rushing from one room to another,

grabbing necessities.

I catch up to her at the door.

She kisses me.

I kiss her back. A little piece of sweet lip

in her sweet breath. I keep my eyes open

so I can see her face close-up.

“Love you,” I say.

“Love you, too.”

I stand on the front steps and watch her

get in the car, buckle-up, start the engine,

make a U-turn and come to a stop at the stop sign

at our corner. I walk to the mailbox

on the corner and give a little wave.

She sees and waves back,

then pushes off for her day, her clients.

I have things to do, too.

Have to xerox poems for my students, my fellow poets.

The sun’s not out yet; by noon, the clouds’ll break,

and it’ll be a sunny day,

and the sun will shine

on my wife and on my students

and on this blessed, sacred, sanctified life.

Jack Grapes

© 2010


  1. lkthayer · May 18, 2010

    Jack, I love how you let the reader in on your very private cherished moments. We are right there in your “blessed, sacred, santified life.” Fabulous! LK 🙂

  2. nicolerigets · May 18, 2010

    Brilliant, warm, smooth, and touching! What a gorgeous piece of personal life linked into our collective unconscious. A love inspiration and earthy visit. Thank you Jack!! I must remember to live, between, the daily to-dos. xo

  3. Francine Jack · May 18, 2010

    thank you! fabulous image moment
    you bring us/me back to life
    such grace so sacred that familiar moment
    such Love!
    Thank you

  4. jackie herzig · May 19, 2010

    you snatched a moment of your life, your love, your beauty and shared it with such “man” grace.

  5. Adesh Kaur · May 20, 2010

    this poem is why i live.
    i hung on each sentence by sentence.
    i am having trouble breathing right now.
    beauty just takes my breath away
    and you are beautiful.
    breathless adesh

  6. Lordy · May 20, 2010

    I guess every day is a line from a poem….
    It’s good to remember the basic building blocks of home life can be as refreshing as any whimsical imaginative plate of words….
    You don’t have to go out to enjoy a good meal… Jack reminds us we can eat a good one at home!!

  7. Roz Levine · May 21, 2010

    This poem just thrilled me to my bones. I was glued like a spider weaving a net around its prey to every word said, everything unsaid, in this oh so private moment with your beloved. Thanks for this gift. Thanks for all the gifts you so bountifully share with us.

  8. Diana Kay Smith · November 6, 2012

    God, I love this.

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