Othello in Maryland
You said you always fell for Desdemonas,
pampered rich girls in whose blinkered eyes
you saw such innocence, took up your cause
to school each one – the kind I then despised –
in your hero’s story, how you forsook
straight life for the whiskey glint of rock and roll.
You were, for a time, a star. But why you took
to me, I’ll never know. Broke, divorced, I told
you plainly of my life – three part-time gigs,
eking out my college courses in meager twos,
rolling pennies to buy beer, tampons, and cigs.
Think – I was Emilia, spunky, forthright, overdue
for some bold move. But what? And why?
Oh, we had such fun, those months of battle,
your latest Desdemona up against my
scrappier strength. You loved the tittle-tattle,
and when the whole plot snapped in half, you cried,
but not for long. Another pretty girl, if not
too bright, was in your sights, although you lied
about that, too. No blame. I freely caught
the love disease, forgetting how the story ends:Love moved to hate. Left standing? Only men.
Rose Solari is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, The Last Girl, Orpheus in the Park, and Difficult Weather, the one-act play, Looking for Guenevere, and the novel, A Secret Woman. She has lectured and taught writing workshops at many institutions, including the University of Maryland, College Park; St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland; the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University; and the Centre for Creative Writing at the University of Oxford’s Kellogg College in Oxford, England. Her awards include the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, an EMMA award for excellence in journalism, and multiple grants.