Robin Becker

If things don't work out

I'll buy the belt

with the fashionable silver buckle

we saw on Canyon Road.

If we can't make peace

I'll order the leather duster and swagger

across the plaza in Santa Fe

cross-dressing for the girls.

If you leave I'll go back

for the Navaho blanket

and the pawn ring, bargain

with the old woman who will know

I intend to buy.

If you pack your things,

if you undress in the bathroom,

if you see me for what I am,

I'll invest in the folk art mirror

with the leaping rabbits

on either side, I'll spring

for the Anasazi pot with the hole

in the bottom where the spirit

of the potter is said to escape

after her death.

If you say I never intended

to share my life, I'll haunt the museum

shops and flea markets,

I'll don the Spanish riding hat,

the buckskin gloves with fringe at the wrists,

I'll step into the cowboy boots

tanned crimson and designed to make

any woman feel like she owns the street.

If you never touch me again

we'll both survive this simmering summer—

you down to two boxes of books,

a standing lamp, and a portable closet.

I'll do what my mother did

after she buried my sister:

she outfitted herself in an elegant suit

for the rest of her life.

Found In Volume , No. 01
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Robin Becker
About the Author

Robin Becker is the author of five collections of poems including The Horse Fair (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000) and the chapbook Venetian Blue (Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh, 2002).  Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State University, she serves as Poetry Editor of The Women’s Review of Books.