Erik Tschekunow

Wedding Anniversary

Above your bunk on the cell’s
cement ceiling there’s a stain
that looks like a cloud that looks
like a tree that makes you think
of a house, of the home
you and your wife built together,
of its bare yard, of your wife
kneeling with another man
in a swath of good, tilled earth
dark as bear’s fur, of the other
man, long and plumb, with shoulders
that have lifted the distressed
from ditches, of the way
the man guides your wife
as they rake their hands along
a silky bed, pressing seeds
into neat rows, of a seed
that knows how to wait
(if it must) for years
before unfolding itself
to the dirt, of your wife, your
wife who slides her small soiled thumb
across the man’s wet brow,
your wife who would never
picture her pathetic groom
standing on his upper bunk
up on the steel toes of his
boots, trying to scrape away
the stain with a plastic spoon.

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Poems, along with his parents and his son, have helped Erik Tschekunow overcome his addiction and related prison sentence. He is so grateful. His work has appeared in The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry and other journals. He was also recipient of the 2020 Rose Warner Poetry Prize from Freshwater Review.