“Generic Husband” – Rebecca Hazelton

Who mows the lawn. Who prunes the rangy rose.
Who whacks the weeds by the chain link with mafioso panache.
Who drinks the beer. Who has no questions. Who knots
a tie four-in-hand. Who washes the car. Who drives stick.
Who smoked but did not inhale. Who wears the drugstore cologne
his kid gave him. Who wakes up beside the same wife.
Who has no questions. Who parts his hair. Who has a bald patch.
Who plays golf. Who plays Call of Duty. Who plays
the stock market, responsibly. Who reads biographies
of generals. Who does not dream. Who climbed trees
as a boy. Who leaves his towel beside the hamper.
Who has never swum nude. Who knows cardinal directions.
Who sees the sun set without a sense of unease.
Who walks to the train. Who watches sports. Who reclines.
Who maintains a sense of calm. Who has a small, bad tattoo.
Who wears humorous socks. Who tells the tame, dirty joke.
Who reads the newspaper online. Who is politically unmoved.
Who had a job upon graduation. Who go-gets. Who has no questions.
Who shovels the walk. Who did not keep his letters
from his college sweetheart. Who had a college sweetheart.
Who called her “baby.” Who was sincere. Who did not ask
why she left him. Who does not climb trees. Who drinks one beer
at the end of the day. Who remembers meeting his wife and how young
she was then. Who does not question. Who kills the spider.
Who clips a dog with his car and keeps driving. Who adjusts the mirror.

Originally published by The New Yorker. November 13, 2017 Issue.