My Husband’s Back

by Susan Minot

Read by Emma Rye

Sunday evening.
Breakdown hour. Weeping into
a pot of burnt rice. Sun dimmed
like a light bulb gone out
behind a gray lawn of snow.
The baby flushed with the flu
asleep on a pillow.
The fire won't catch.
The wet wood's caked
with ice. Sitting
on the couch my spine
collides with all its bones
and I watch my husband
peer past the glass grate
and blow.
His back in a snug plaid shirt
gray and white
leaning into the woodstove
is firm and compact
like a young man's back.

And the giant world which whirls
in my head
stopping most thought
suddenly ceases
to spin. It sits
right there, the back I love,
animal and gamine, leaning
on one arm.
I could crawl on it forever
the one point in the world
turns out
I have travelled everywhere
to get to.