Dana Roeser

The Glacier
Issue One
Fall 2022


                                        “I think romance is actually a problem for intimacy. Because it comes with so 
                                        many projections that it’s not very liberating to be the object of those 
                                        projections, because it puts you in a place which is not free. In both directions. 
                                        Women project onto men . . . and vice versa. I don’t think you’re really seeing 
                                        the other person, able to see the person, because you’re much more 
                                        fascinated by your own projections. Either way you don’t get seen. And 
                                        intimacy is probably about being seen.” 
                                                                                                              -Jane Campion, Interview, CBC Radio,         
                                                                                                              "Writers & Company" with Eleanor Wachtel
I wake in the night and pad
            downstairs for a pill.
Coming back up
            the street
through the front window glistening
            under lamp light.
Only a sheen. Magic.
           Women are seen as magic
Jane Campion says
            in the interview. Men are
“brought to their knees
            by the feminine.” But I’m too
awkward. More like
            Anne Lamott who talks
about being ghosted 
            after “three perfect dates.” Who
says she is too “big and
            juicy.” Lord, yes.
I said I am a loose cannon.
            And he said, ever tactful,
I think you are enthusiastic.
            I asked the Tarot directly
about him, because it’s come
            to that. I got the Five
of Wands in which everyone’s
            trying to knock each
other down with their leaf-sprouting
            sticks. Men—but they could
as well be women. I tried
            three different source
books to get an interpretation
            I liked, but here
is what they all said:
            “You got competition,
            God’s Narrows in Manitoba. Winnipeg,
where he grew up. I don’t even
            take Minnesota seriously
because the people wear flip flops
            in winter. My whole dream
life occurs under three quilts—
            even in summer—
in the tropics.
            Ugh. The cold. The nightside.
Northern Ontario, where my
            dreamy lover resides. 
Sarah, my strength trainer, who has
            listened to the blow-by-blow, 
the crushers and the crushees, 
            the ghosting,
the dangerous threats from the one
            I had formerly cherished—for the two
years and counting since
            my husband left—
he said he didn’t care
            how many times I’d
dislocated my hip
            he wasn’t going to pay 
for Sarah—which I of course
            ignored—said, Yeah you got
competition. It’s the woman
            the Canadian loved who died. 
Though I admire liars in the way
            they grab the power
in a given situation and just
            commandeer it, I’ve never
developed the skill. So much 
            to keep track
of. I told him the truth
            about what happened in my
marriage. He said, 
            Are you ready to
start a new life? Has he become
            another person? And I said
Yes, fantasizing of course that this
            was a direct invitation—visualizing
my former husband standing on my
            (formerly, our) deck the week
before, when Eleanor was here and Dan from
            New England was visiting. 
For the first and only time to date
            we’ve shared a “social space.” I observed
the giant gold watch that I was positive
            his girlfriend had given him—I’d read
that watches were a love gift—didn’t
            Jennifer Aniston give
John Mayer a Rolex—or was it vice
            versa? The watch gift means 
something along the lines of, “Yours is big.” 
            Or “Mine is big.” But
basically he looked small to me.
            Women are exotic, says Campion. 
And men are trying to bash down the
            barricades. But can
I do it? Can I sustain it? Even for a minute?
            I like the nightside. In which I project
onto my love as if he’s a drive-in 
            movie screen. He speaks well
(okay, I haven’t heard his voice;
            I’m guessing). He writes well.
He speaks French. He loved a woman. He
            didn’t just play at it. He has those 
smoldering eyes. He’s sick
            and lies in bed a lot. 
He’s beautiful, like an odalisque.
            The Wabash River flows. Sludgy
river where my former husband
            puts in his canoe
to paddle with his lover.
            I wanted to jump in it
when my husband and I moved here. 
            My marriage was that good. My “self-esteem.”
I knew someone who did
            jump in but was fished
out, he told our AA meeting—but then 
            later he was picked up
for strangling his girlfriend.
            Rivers are like that. The nightside.
My husband—okay, damn it, my ex-husband--
            lives in a luxury apartment just across
the Wabash. Train whistle, clacking
            on the tracks, two car bridges and
one bricked pedestrian
            connecting the eastside
to west mark his days. My girls have been
            there. The garish yellow 
and red painting 
            of a foregrounded palazzo outside
of Valetta—all curves—that my uncle
            gave us as a wedding gift lives
there. Apparently, a weird glittery shawl
            is draped between it and a wall sconce—
a kind of “new life” canopy
            over the bed. 
My girls will never live 
            on the nightside again. 
Free-wheeling dreams and
            magic carpets. Or at least 
the younger one won’t. Lucy,
            here in dopamine-nation,
consumer-addled U.S., the younger, 
            labored at holding the
damn marriage together. Now, left
            holding blank air. 
I’m going to keep with the Manitoba,
            the dark apartment 
where my love’s eyes
            glow like coals 
from the OKCupid photograph. His other
            photos. But really the one.
I showed my therapist 
            the picture. I made 
a crack about my lack
            of purchase/valence on the men
I find myself wanting.
            She took one look
and rolled her eyes. 
             It was like she said
“You’re toast. You’re getting
             knocked down by
those wands one way
             or the other.”
Muddy, churning river 
            where he puts in his new 
blue canoe to paddle 
            with his love. We were 
given a lot of date instructions
             by our marriage counselor. He did
a good job with those I learned 
            when the bank accidentally posted
his statement with mine. Restaurants,
             outings, air bnbs . . . 
            You’re toast. You’re getting
knocked down by those wands
            one way or the other.
            My cyber man’s OK Cupid
green light is always on. 
            I’m flying like the Little Lame
Prince at night on a cloud. No, wait,
            he sailed around on a magic
cloak. I’m the one who wants,
            studying provinces
and maps, trying to discern
            Covid border regulations.
My would-be writes to me of propinquity.
            How we don’t have it.
Stateside, I dream under 
            three fluffy quilts, my tropical 
paradise. Not a mile away,
            the man I lived with for
thirty-four years
            lowers his canoe 
into the milky water.

DANA ROESER‘s fourth book, All Transparent Things Need Thundershirts, won the Wilder Prize at Two Sylvias Press and was published in September 2019. Her previous books won the Juniper Prize and the Samuel French Morse Prize (twice). She was a recipient of the GLCA New Writers Award, an NEA Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and several other awards and residencies. Recent work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Poem-a-Day, North American Review, Pleiades, Guesthouse, Barrow Street, and others. For more information, please see www.danaroeser.com.

Artwork by Austin Veldman.
© The Glacier 2022. All rights reserved.