Inclusion and Exclusion in Our Daily Lives
PART V: FAMILY & HISTORY
MARION DEUTSCHE COHEN
The boys in grammar school didn’t think of me that way. The boys in high school didn’t think of me that way. Jeff no longer thinks of me that way. But I am that way. I am so that way. I am, alas so very much that way.
What is being taken away from the narrator by never being seen?
Is this pain more powerful for not being intentional? More powerful for us for not being spoken?
I'm happily married now, so the poem doesn't apply at the moment. It, along with other poems written during that period of my life, accurately expressed and summarized for me where I was when I wrote it. My first husband had multiple sclerosis for 26 years before he died. During the last 10 years he lived in a nursing home, and dementia was involved. There were so many stresses and impossibilities involved that there was little room for him to think of me "that way". After a while I decided to leave the marriage and to seek love elsewhere, although I still visited him—that is, until he got verbally abusive. The first time that happened, I told him I would no longer visit and I didn't, except when he had serious excacerbations and was in the hospital. I was also the last family member to see him alive; that was on the day that he died. But at that point, I was determined to "have a life," to be a "regular" citizen of this world. Like most people who date, it was a long time before I found someone who KEPT thinking of me "that way."
MARION DEUTSCHE COHEN is the author of eighteen books, including Crossing the Equal Sign (Plain View Press, TX—poetry about the experience of mathematics), Dirty Details: The Days and Nights of a Well Spouse (Temple University Press, PA), and the forthcoming Chronic Progressive (Plain View Press, TX), in which the poem in this anthology appears. She teaches math at Arcadia University, in Glenside PA. Other interests are classical piano, singing, Scrabble, thrift-shopping, four grown children, and two grandchildren.