Beverly Hennessy Summa


It was our first winter
as a married couple
in the Chestnut Street apartment.

A clean slate, our own space
with new, white walls,
where neither of us had loved
any past lovers.

You sat on the living room floor
that was also the dining room floor,
and also, the kitchen floor.

In front of you was a thick booklet
of assembly instructions
opened to a page that illustrated
the various parts
to the vertical perplexity
that would be our new
filing cabinet.

The cabinet would neatly house
the many shared and official
pieces of paper we’d acquired
as Mr. & Mrs.

To commemorate the occasion
I opened a bottle of wine.
The Italian red
from our engagement party
fourteen months earlier.

We hadn’t taken care
in storing the bottle properly.
The flavors were dull, stale,
but we drank it anyway.

As night dropped, snow
began to slip from the sky.
The power flickered
with indecision,

and we couldn’t believe
how many parts our future
filing cabinet would require.

At some point we lost
the assembly instructions
under the couch,
and finished the bottle of wine.

That night we slept
with the blinds up.

In the bright, newness
of morning
we pulled on boots,
walked to the diner
through ankle-deep snow
for your eggs Benedict
and my French toast.

It was all
very easy.


Beverly Hennessy Summa‘s poems have appeared and/or are forthcoming in Nerve Cowboy and Plum Tree Tavern. She owns a music school and store with her husband and was a Pushcart nominee in 2017. She lives in South Salem, New York with her family