How to Have a Happy Marriage

Carrie Fountain

after children. after a nervous breakdown. after fifty/sixty/seventy. after your double mastectomy.

while cheating on your spouse. while impotent. while going through the change. while divorced.

instead of misery. instead of living on the tips of others. instead of an unhappy marriage.

when the children have grown and left, just as you always suspected they wouldn’t. when the streaks on your windshield catch the sunset and blind you. when your daughter stares out the window in the backseat, an other being, afloat on the raft of her growing body in an ocean of thoughts you will never know, and fears, surely, and frightening sadnesses you can and will never be able to do anything about.

when you think you might be dying. when your spouse doesn’t believe you’re dying. when you know you’re dying.

despite– forever–

for the children. in space. in America. in a microhouse.

double blinded. halfway. on the way.

even after. and even after that. and after that.

Carrie Fountain is a poet and novelist, and serves as the 2019 Texas Poet Laureate. She is the author of three poetry collections, The Life, Instant Winner, and Burn Lake, winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series Award, and the YA novel I’m Not Missing. Her first children’s book, The Poem Forest (Candlewick Press, 2020) tells the story of American poet W.S. Merwin and the palm forest he grew from scratch on the island of Maui. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, Poetry, and The New Yorker, among many others. She is the host of KUT’s This Is Just to Say, a radio show and podcast where she has intimate conversations on the writing life with other poets and writers. She lives in Austin, TX.