he comes home late

again, says

they need some time

apart. She twists her dishrag

deeper, and their last

wedding tumbler

snaps. Glass digs into

flesh, and fire

tears along her knuckle bone, bares

nerve and tendon to the stinging air.

She wraps it tight

in dishtowels and hopes

it holds together

on its own. Only

when the bleeding doesn’t

slow will she allow

it to be numbed,

the passage

of a dark and heavy thread.

At night, her husband

takes her hand, unwinds

the bandages and lays

the joint splint aside.

What’s left

is pain and stitches

pulling like their promise, taut

against the separation, drawing

ragged edges

side to side

to heal the best they can.