Susan Jordan

Gertrude by Alice

I knew she was a genius; she did too.
You could tell it from the way she sat there,
thinking thoughts that were more thought thoughts
than the thoughts that other people thought.
My thought was that she was beautiful, majestic.
I fell headlong into those warm dark eyes.
When she asked me to be her wife I cried for days.

Being a genius she didn’t cook or sew
or grow the vegetables or see to the house.
I did everything for her, my husband-mother-child.
When she wrote down those thoughts she thought
I typed them – the typewriter made her scared –
and told the publishers how wonderful they were
so she would have more thoughts. She was a genius.

She talked to people always, people I never liked
coming into our house, taking her from me.
I spoke only to wives; the kitchen was our place,
the altar where for her I sacrificed chickens or ducks,
made her sauces from wine and devotion. I kept her fat
to cherish me, thin as her shadow. And in bed
(maybe I shouldn’t mention it) she was a genius too.

If she was here she’d tell you more, much more
about our life. Forty years it was, of thoughts
and books and fun. Her laugh was bigger than us both,
her words the melody that sang us through the day.
Without her I’m thinner than I ever was,
living these days on memory and cigarettes.
I may have said this to you before: she was a genius


Susan Jordan has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and writes both poetry and prose. Her poems have appeared in a number of print and online magazines, including Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Journal, Obsessed with Pipework and Snakeskin. Her first collection, A House of Empty Rooms, will be published by Indigo Dreams later this year. This poem was highly-commended for the Torbay Open
Poetry Competition.