Fuck, Marry, Kill—Deployment Edition

by Kate Gaskin

Definitely Marlon Brando, definitely biceps,
white shirt, problematic

grease stains, definitely
longing and hot palmetto, rusted lacework

of wrought iron. Give me
a fantasy so humid I forget it’s in black

and white. There are months when no one
touches me, months

of snow, the mailman trudging down sidewalks
hard-glazed with ice. In an email

I tell you I’d marry
Paul Newman, run away to his Connecticut

backyard, fortify my heart
with golden retrievers, salad dressing,

a flame that never shakes. Tell me,
what’s at stake

in this war I can’t see or touch? On the news
another woman explodes

in a crowded marketplace. Snipers go panther-
still behind their scopes. When you’ve been gone

long enough, I pour a glass of wine
and watch Charade. It’s a big decision—who lives,

who dies—but I’m lonely and I’m young,
and this version of Cary Grant is done

for. When you finally come home, the thaw
slings up the tulips one by one.

Kate Gaskin is the author of Forever War (YesYes Books 2020), which won the Pamet River Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Guernica, Pleiades, The Southern Review, and Blackbird, among others. She is a recipient of a Tennessee Williams Scholarship in poetry to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, as well as the winner of The Pinch’s 2017 Literary Award in Poetry. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska.