. . . [it] is truly humiliating, not to know how to get mastery over
one’s own thoughts, to be the slave of a regret, a memory . . . .
(Charlotte Brontë to Constantin Héger; letter dated November 18, 1845)
Pain caused by first love never truly subsides.
Cunning and deceptive, it lurks dormant
until you’ve made peace with the alternate life
you could’ve led, fully loaded with hubby,
home, the 2.5 children he named (Isabel, Iris,
Inés) though you weren’t even sure you wanted
kids then. Just when you’ve mastered
eating with chopsticks, are able to rise from bed,
have rediscovered flossing, are singing and humming
to the Beach Boys on the car radio—heck
maybe you're wearing an engagement ring,
are buying His and Hers monogrammed towels,
just then, you run into the old bastard
and the unchristian desire to claw
his eyes returns natural as breathing.
When Asked, Why Edward?, Jane Eyre Responds
It’s spring in the park.
We stroll in silence.
Edward’s cigar cocked
to the side. Both hands intact.
The pupil and iris in each eye healthy.
The scar anointing furrowed
forehead, severing an eyebrow
in two, is absent. Ahead,
an older couple stranded
in a red surrey try pedaling up
an incline and beyond the asphalt’s
grassy treachery. Who knows how long
they’ve been huffing and puffing
pitiably like upside-down turtles.
Edward approaches from behind
and gives a gentle push propelling
the surrey into the afternoon light.
A guardian spirit, he remains unseen,
the unlikely elegance of hindwings
broader than forewings on a mating pair
of marsh skimmers perched on a twig.
Rita Maria Martinez has poems in journals such as MiPOesias, The Notre Dame Review, and Ploughshares. In her forthcoming first book of poems, The Jane and Bertha in Me (Kelsay Books, 2016), Martinez revamps Charlotte Brontë's Gothic heroine with tattoos, fishnets, and modern feminism. contact