Alternate Ending with Beach House

This is what I wanted:
++++++++++++++++mug full of coffee each morning
++++++++++++++++and a walk to the ocean. Wind blowing sand
++++++++++++++++into the curtain hems
of your parents’ beach house where we wouldn’t pay rent
and you’d reprise your role as the good son who spent
the six months before I met you there, sober,
fixing the cherry red Cabriolet.
++++++++++++++++Garage full of oil spots.
Your face growing wrinkles from deep concentration,
stub of a Camel dangling ash from the crook
of your mouth. I wanted the floral apron, the chubby baby
on my hip, and the cold leftovers I’d eat alone in the kitchen.
++++++++++++++++I knew you’d never quit drinking,
++++++++++++++++so I worked it into the ending,
++++++++++++++++amber glow of lamplight
through Maker’s in the wood-panelled den.
++++++++++++++++But in my version, you’d drink moderately,
or at least from glasses, and we’d listen to the baby monitor
and make slow love, which I knew even then
++++++++++++++++would really be more like absent-minded fucking.
But that’s as far as I can picture of the alternate ending
because in this world, when you begged me to marry you
from the passenger seat of my Buick, I knew you were drunk,
++++++++++++++++and the pregnancy test
++++++++++++++++came back with only one line on it,
++++++++++++++++and I never even saw the beach house,
only drove the long flat road
++++++++++++++++toward it a half dozen times.

rebecca bornsteinRebecca Bornstein’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Slice, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Word Riot, Hobart, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from North Carolina State University and currently lives in Portland, Oregon. http://www.rebeccabornstein.com