Maura Gage


The Nothingness He Made

I gave you Coltrane;
you gave me faithlessness.
I showed you fire
in the horses' tails;
you gave me an intruder.
I made poems for you;
you gave me what no wife wants.
I gave you commitment;
you gave me betrayal.
I gave you my heart;
you shattered it like glass.
I gave you flavors of love;
you gave me anger and cruelty.
I gave you open spaces and freedom;
you gave me shadows of yourself.
I gave you a Zevon concert;
you gave me tears and loss.
I gave you a normal, steady life;
you gave me rejection and pain.
I gave you backrubs and care;
you gave me folded arms.
I gave you smiles and laughter;
you gave me nasty words and demeanor.
The colors of the sunset and sunrise
that we shared meant nothing to you.
I gave you 4th of July fireworks;
you gave me inattention and thoughts of another.
I gave you dedication and understanding;
you gave me less and less and less of you
and more and more bitter herbs from your fingers.
The sky darkens over my head
like drowning waves.
If only I could fall back into them
and sleep, my sorrow so great
it is as if ice has encased me
and will never melt,
and you, you go on with life
as if you've done no harm.
You feel no remorse, no care, no love
for she who gave all she could to you
for ten years. Now I am a stranger
to you, and I know you not at all--
from Coltrane, to a wedding, to nothing--
no message to decode, no hummingbirds
to watch, no more of your disappointment
in me, no rain to dance in,
no wind to chase together,
no more love, no more love,
it's all melted down
into nothingness, the nothingness
you alone created.


The Hurricane

ran through two metal buildings,
a train of sorts driving them through
the fence, the porch roof,
the satellite dish, all the metal
crumbling and clanging, sounding
as if the Titanic crashed around
the house. Wild winds
turned the day white and dark at once.

I am alone with the stillness
of my life, the meadows in my mind
lush green and filled with flowers,
but my heart is as lonely
as a fatherless child's,
naked in the knowledge
that my husband betrayed it,
and he a mad addict of sexual conquests,
never devoted and always
with anyone who'd have him.

The ten years of my life I gave him--
now demolished as if it were
a hurricane, a wreck-causing diver
who never tried to be faithful,
who left me in a world of tornadoes,
who threatened me
with fists or hooks,
who wanted all that glittered
and nothing of love.
His anger destroyed and poisoned,
his anger paralyzed and abandoned--
and, although riotous, the wind has
no sound.


Still New Butterflies Soar

The silver day kills the gold
the sun likes to share;
silver covers the fields
damaged by a hurricane,

what glitters borders
on the edge of grief.
Running away from the pain
is useless.

It follows her, stalks her;
her drowning time arrives
every time the fields are filled,
this pain ropes around her,

the dead feeling caused by
the zoo-behavior of cheaters,
betrayers, liars, adulterers,
her own husband one of that pair.

Still the air flows with violets.
Still life's pearls form.
Still the magnolia dances.
Still new butterflies soar.


Clawing my Way to Freedom
(away from your betrayal and abuse)

Rain all night
as I fall into the trap
of your betrayal.
the net catching me
like a spider's web--
your adultery, revealed,
I am cut by your barbwire
force and tear. I am alone
in the spotlight of a dead marriage,
the last to know

your yellow cowardice
glaring in its cruel neon.
The path, made of black
thorns and daggers, impales
me as I try to flee
the scene of your torture.

Once we had dreams, too,
rings gleaming bright as smiles,
years and days of real life,
a decent and good life until you
detached yourself like a latch
and hooked into anyone who'd have you,
two Oberlin whores
fight over you, land in jail--
so now--I try to wrangle,
claw my way out,
my way back to freedom,
your shackles, like our rings,
falling behind us.

maura gage

The Louisiana Review

     Maura Gage is an Associate Professor of English at Louisiana State University at Eunice. She is also editor of The Louisiana Review. She has lived all over--Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, and, for the past four years, in Louisiana in a small town just a few exits west of Lafayette. She is a big fan of

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