Man Silently to His Wife at the Meat Counter

by Alma Christl Call

My objection, chopped
like these two thick steakes
that I don’t want but you must have.
Congratulations,

on such a good cut
not bleeding, cauterized
quickly with this carved
smile, for the butcher.

You must win, must say so aloud.
But, this is not a new pain,
this emptiness somewhere
between the rib and backbone,

as if a needle left over
from an old surgery
had wormed through a lung.
I know nothing

of surgery except the daily
operations of your voice, sterilized
like your formica eyes.
Your conversation, clinical.

Each day an -ectomy.
Another part of me.
And the resentment
grows like an -oma.