Steve Henn

Trimming an Earlobe

I remember when you were pregnant
with our oldest, once you knew you quit
wine, quit everything cold turkey

then in your mother’s bathroom mirror
in newly-sober psychosis looking at
your earlobes thinking they needed a trim
you raised a pair of scissors and cut
the left lobe off

That time I did come to comfort you
you wouldn’t hear of going to a hospital
I hated psych wards but knew you weren’t well
you talked yourself into willing yourself to normalcy

for years it worried you
that my mother might ask
about that side of your head
its asynchronicity

we kept the lobe in a pill vial
nearly into our kid’s 2nd year

before tossing it out the Taurus window
we opened for a look – it was black
and disgusting. It stunk

why did we keep this? We laughed
and laughed together because things
were good between us and that was
an old life when we were our lesser selves

it was the fabled past
we were never going back

things would only get better
we were on a country road
shouting at cows with our one-year-old
hilariously and things would only get better
and things would only get better some more.


Steve Henn is the author of the brand-spankin’-new Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year from Wolfson Press. He is delightful when drinking and tolerable when sober.