David Gewanter

Old Egg

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue

Old Egg

“To peel away at people, to leave them raw, exposed—
that’s what movies do: like King Lear’s servant,
dragged from the banquet, and thrown in the stocks;
winking, the hostess tells

her husband, Nay, my Lord, leave him all night too
and pulls off the man’s boots…. So in my movie,
there’s a neglected wife who envies her friend
dating online—

So the friend signs her up
for the service. Then her husband’s pal,
who cheats on his wife with internet hook-ups,

signs him up too:
the wife agrees to one date; so does the husband,
and that’s the first two acts of the script.


In the third act, of course, there’s
a mistake: husband and wife are set up
with each other and, surprise, meet at the bar:
what happens next:

a slap, a break-up, or fresh sex?
Push at the calcified shell of marriage:
pressure, a crack; more pressure,
then it breaks open.

—But no magic ending, not like
the poet sitting in the theatre, watching
the film of his parents as teens, courting…

He wept for them to stop,
but the audience hushed him: the future’s
already happened,and you’re inside it


David Gewanter's fourth book of poems is Fort Necessity (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2018). He is co-editor of Robert Lowell: Collected Poems (FSG/Faber,2003). He teaches at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. To read more by this author, see the Summer 2003 issue, Wartime Issue, and Museum Issue.