Gail White’s fourth poetry collection, Asperity Street, will be published in 2015 by Able Muse Press. She has won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award for 2012 and 2013. She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana with her husband and cats.
Othello was exotic – always dressed
In gold and red, black as a panther stalking
Into my father’s house. I was impressed,
Sat like a meek white lamb, and set him talking.
But heroes when in love are often dumb.
We women have to do the courting for them.
They love the spirit-stirring trump and drum,
But sentimental conversations bore them.
And now my lord is angry with his friends –
First Cassio, then me – he seems to smother
His tender side. How can I make amends
And win him back? I wish I’d had a mother
To warn me that I put myself in danger
By falling for a dark romantic stranger.
It seems now I was happiest in Arden,
teasing Orlando, being boys together,
able to play bird-of-a-different-feather
before identities had time to harden.
Of course I’m glad we married in the end
and glad to be in women’s clothes again,
but why can’t he still let me be his friend
or grant that I’m the smart one, now and then?
Celia would say a wife must put aside
romantic love’s illusions and forget
the glamour of the bridegroom and the bride –
it’s only common sense, I know. And yet…
I’ve told my girls about the magic wood.
I hope that soon they’ll run away for good.