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170th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Curse of the Immortal's Husband

by Bruce Boston

When she calls him
by a stranger's name
and he complains,

when she tells him
he is her 25th husband
(or perhaps the 26th?)

and she casually mentions
countless cascades of lovers
she never chose to wed,

he loses all desire.
He sees her passing down
ages dark and light

with men light and dark
(and perhaps women too),
and he suspects that among

this motley and vile crew,
as he envisions them,
there are at least a few

whose bedroom prominence
looms larger than any
he could ever provide.

And he suspects that as
the centuries slither past
and memories expire

he will someday be
relegated to the slippery
downside of the Bell Curve,

even his finest efforts
dismissed in the fog
of a never-ending competition.

Next time she calls him
by a stranger's name
he decides to let it ride.

When she walks out the door
her thighs will be perfect.
There will be no note.

Appeared in Asimov's SF Magazine

See all the entrants to 170th Weekly Poetry Contest