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I'm Married and My Daddy's Rich Too

I'm Married and My Daddy's Rich Too

By Marsha Truman Cooper

News happens to other people.

Couples by John Updike

When she asks me if I care for wine,
I begin to think I’ll need it.
Nails Only,” the sign promises.
How much could go wrong?
But here a dozen women sit, tipsy
to varying degrees and before sunset,
soaking one hand or foot in a bowl
full of something foamy while the other
hand or foot receives a kind of surgical attention
under lights no hospital should be without.
My white zinfandel comes in a tulip
glass along with her question
about what I do to ruin my hands.
So far, nothing,” I answer,
eyeing a box of artificial claws.
This is nothing,” she retorts and, to illustrate
her meaning, bends her elbows, making
the fingers appear to come out of her shoulders.
She flaps them there like useless wings.
I laugh. I drink the wine and enumerate
my household griefs –
pull-top cans, the typewriter, pernicious anemia.
She explains the silk wrap process
and swears I won’t look fake.
Have you ever noticed the manicures
in love scenes, how they shoot the woman
below the wrist and she’s painted red
to show up against the man’s flesh?
It’s always sexy. That’s silk,” she concludes.
I hear a tinkling sounds as if
we’re supposed to stand for a toast.
The circle gathers, clients and operators alike,
around a fat, drunk woman who motions
for silence, raises her glass to freedom,
and then watches her wedding ring
being cut from her. I think
it’s a doctor’s job, but detect no evidence of pain or blood.
The gold is tossed among us
like a bride’s flowers act as an omen.
Who will be next?
My future narrows – right or left,
divorced or porno queen –
and the procedure I have chosen has started.
So what’s new?” she asks as she works on me.
Nothing,” I desperately hope it might be true.
This is nothing,” she repeats and does her little wings.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Fall 1991), pp. 30-31


Marsha Truman Cooper Photo by

Jim Pendergast

Marsha Truman Cooper's most recent chapbook, "A Knot of Worms," is available from Finishing Line Press. She is currently working on a collection of poems called A Dissimulation of Birds which explores the role and cost of deception in struggles for survival, both avian and human. Prairie Schooner gave her the Bernice Slote Award some years ago. She is still married and her daddy is 95 with "all his buttons." He is still rich.  

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