Jameson Fitzpatrick

Particular Night



We had a roomful of weapons to choose from.

And so we did choose, every night—our favorite

erotic game. This


particular night, we drew a white line

to divide us, as was our custom; I picked a gun

and placed it in your hands with ceremony.


You hadn’t meant

to kill me, finding the thrill

in risk rather than fulfillment


—but you didn’t tell me about the dream for weeks,

it so upset you.






the night I threw the glass,

the night you threw the glass,

the night I broke the mirror, the nights

I tried to jump, that night in Harlem I tore

out my hair and into traffic, the night I took

the pills, the knife I waved in the air screaming

Just do it already, the night, the night, the night

I refused to get out or stop shouting, when you hit me

and hit me, the night I bit your chest and broke the skin,

remember how you held me down but don’t forget


I was crying, and you were holding me.




I don’t want to live here anymore. No—

you said that: I don’t want you


to live here anymore. I said

I didn’t want to live anywhere.


(In the emergency room, everyone asking

if you were my father.)


Now don’t you talk to me


about the unconditional, or tell me again

how your great love for me will outlive this, us, et cetera—


I want it finished, the dawn bloody

or not at all.

from Mr. &




Reader, I married him.


the ladle with which she was basting

suspended in air

the same space of time

knives also had rest

fully explaining also why I had thus acted.

I am my husband’s As Fully

his As Free As In Solitude

his As Gay As In Company

then his vision, as I am still

putting into words the effect

of the landscape of his ear

where he wished to go

what he wished to be done

There was a pleasure in my service

that to yield was to be ambitious yet















otherwise delirium


to quit when I was happy and beloved

was dear to me

wandering limbs

trace the steps of my grief

him I must drag

on the grass and kiss

that my vow was heard and that I was reserved















would not consent, formally


He had an aversion

to choosing sustenance

‘Night-walking amuses him, then’

He took his knife and fork

a strong thrilling

Master leaning against the ledge

in his familiar voice

incarnate infancy

the little dark thing

I found it locked
















They began


down the old pace

into moments when

she seemed to be sitting beside her lover

transitory sensation of slipping

Mr. seldom spoke

Mr. denuded

pencilled in as December

to whom something irreparable had happened

at Mr.’s side the strain of

no room in her mind

He filled her cup and plate

stray address

his hands behind his head

a lady who was probably his wife

opened a book in a bedroom

on the fifth floor

He had gone to the barber’s

why should she not tell him the truth?
















at intervals, an anxious feeling


momentary doubt of its being possible to be cured of her attachment

and really, it was not long

every day was giving her fresh reason

a very promising step of the mind on its way to resignation

Within a month

very little white satin

But, in spite of these deficiencies

















large black car would drive me

at the wrought-iron heart

of the old landscape left off

Everybody would know about me


with my mother’s face

martyr’s smile

Maybe forgetfulness

“A man to see you!”

“A man to see you!”

on the glassy rim

that expanse

of grateful snowdrift

cup in the saucer with an awkward clatter

his face like a tonic

or a six-foot-deep gap


JAMESON FITZPATRICK’s recent poems have appeared in The Awl, The Literary ReviewThe Offing and Poetry, among elsewhere. He lives in New York, where he teaches expository writing at NYU.


Photo Credit: Marcelo Yáñez