Coupling, by Michael Diebert

by Michael Diebert

Much later, after the latest failed coupling,
they curled up on the sofa and again
went over all the options, all of which
he maintained would make him less of a man,
and she said no, they were like a plumber
come to fix the pipes and didn’t he want
the pipes to work, and he said when
he was on top of her, thinking how keenly
he wanted to give her what she wanted
and he felt himself go soft, he figured
the only solution was a monastery
for him or a lover for her, or better yet
cut off his dick and be done with it,
the script, the whole groping after bliss,
and she said that wasn’t what he wanted,
and he said no but in a way it was,
and she said life without a dick would be
like opera, and he laughed, and after a while
they had said all they needed to or could
so they pressed closer and let the night
and the silence settle, concentrated
on the ticking fridge, the clatter and fall
of new ice, and in this way it became
not a hurdle but a puzzle, and in this way
it was decided they would try again.

Author’s Comment: “Coupling” began as an attempt to write a one-sentence poem, and it became what it is now without much direct intervention. I write a lot of poems about male identity and about marriage, and the two roads intersect frequently. It’s hard to write about failure, even harder to write about what comes after failure, without hysterics and floweriness. Here, though, the relationship has its own weight and volition which, I hope, carries both parties through the delicate subject matter.

Bio: I teach writing and literature at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta, and I am poetry editor for The Chattahoochee Review and associate poetry editor for Futurecycle ( Recent poems have appeared in RATTLE, Southern Poetry Review, and The Pedestal, and are forthcoming in an anthology of Georgia poets to be published by Texas Review Press.

2 thoughts on “Coupling, by Michael Diebert

  1. Really enjoyed this poem and I love how the Author’s comment doesn’t over explain the poem, but just adds to the depth of the reading 🙂

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