The Fall Back Guy

The Fall Back Guy
by Kristina England
That’s what you were –
the extra man I held onto,
stuffed in the shelves
with the clutter of unread books.
So when my first gray hair sprung,
I reached into the dust
pulled you out,
demanded you marry me.
And sure as some bad romance novel,
you nodded your head,
fell into line,
played husband to my wife.
What a nice game we had
but never procreating.
You can’t count the kids,
the house, our nights in bed.
There’s no multiplying one’s love
when the number starts at zero.
And I’m sorry about the other man
but he met my specifications
so I threw my arms around him
for twenty-plus years.
And I know you had a fall back girl.
I saw her lying on your shelf.
I often wonder what happened to her.
Is she still collecting dust?
Did I cheat her out of something?
But what does it matter?
She was your extra,
while I was the collectible
you wanted,
the one you thought you had.

0 thoughts on “The Fall Back Guy

  1. Gripping, painfully well-defined, together with good imagery (of dust, especially) and the lines “There’s no multiplying one’s love when the number starts at zero.” Arriving at the last lines, I wondered if he actually thought he “had” her, or whether he might have felt the same disillusionment as she. She’s blaming him for collecting her, as she did him, but was he married? Didn’t he hold out for her? Still gripping, though.

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