Nin Andrews

Reality Check
April 8, 2014 Andrews Nin

Reality Check

after David Lehman


The orgasm likes the dusk best, the time of day

when the visible becomes the invisible,

and the physical world, a fantasy or dream.

That’s when the man and woman remember him again

even if it’s true, they’ve been married so long,

the wife has become cheerless and drab

in her navy blue pantsuits—her Barbara Bushes

as she calls them, and the husband

has lost his shirt, as the saying goes,

and never found it again.  Sad

how failure becomes the story of a life,

a reality his wife says he should check.

(She’s always trying to cheer him up.)


But in truth the man squandered his estate

ages ago and now sells real estate during the day.

He says it doesn’t feel very real because he rarely

sells any. Define real, the woman argues,

as she slowly peels off her nylons

and massages her calves.  In the almost

dark she still looks like the braless girl

the man fell madly in love with on Election Day

on November 4th, 1980.  Never mind

that Ronald Reagan had just been elected,

that they’d voted for Jimmy Carter,

the woman still called it Elation Day

as she unzipped his pants.

What are you doing?  he asked.

Just waiting for you to grow up, she said.

And he did.  Again and again,

he grew up, replaying this scene

in his mind. She was so sexy back then.

Nin Andrews’ poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, Agni, The Paris Review, and four editions of Best American Poetry. The author of seven chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections, she has won two Ohio individual artist grants, the Pearl Chapbook Contest, the Kent State University chapbook contest, the Gerald Cable Poetry Award, and the Ohioana 2016 Award for poetry. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux, called Someone Wants to Steal My Name. Her book, The Last Orgasm, was published by Etruscan Press in 2020.