Issue 209, Summer 2014
My wife and I took a cooking class recently. My wife and I take classes. It is a passion of my wife’s, taking classes. My wife is good at most things one could take classes in, which, when you think about it—and I’ve thought about it—means my wife excels in all things. And I believe that is in fact true. I believe my wife excels in all things. I am not blinded by love when I say this—we have been together eight years. They say after seven, whatever blindness you had is gone.
While my wife was chopping things or perhaps sautéing them, the instructor came over. I stopped what I was doing, which wasn’t much. He was a man in his sixties trying hard to look French. He smelled like years of garlic. We looked at each other until some time passed. You might want to take up poetry, he said finally.
The poetry class conflicted with the cooking class—the one my wife was excited about, the one from which I was now banned. I make curtains for a living, and most of the work is done from a tiny shop I set up in the back of our house. In other words, my schedule is flexible; this sort of problem never happened before. What do you want to do? I asked my wife. In my chest I was hoping she’d say we’d both quit. I was imagining her saying, Intro to Tarot Card Reading. Or: I heard of a place, just a short drive north, where you can take horseback-riding classes. My wife loves intro classes and loves anything that’s a short drive north. But instead she said, We are not one person, you know. My wife had never pointed that out before.
The poetry class was led by a young man with too much gel in his hair. His bio listed literary journals with exotic animals in their names, and words in Latin. I’m a poet before I’m a teacher, he told us the first day, a poet before anything. Everyone nodded.