The Inert Pair Effect

A chemical bond holds two atoms together. To break the bond, you have to fight against the bond, like stretching a rubber band until it snaps. — Dr. Christopher S. Baird

With June heat and Jack as catalysts
I finally said the words it took
to end my marriage, to break the bonds
of nineteen years, to speak the truth
about the death of my heart.
I remember the sun as over-bright–
the color off, like an old film,
the speed jerky from adrenaline
and too much alcohol.
I could never have imagined
the force it took to dislodge him–
the arguments about dishes and records,
his intransigence, my harshness because
he would not hear me any other way.
He asked me for boxes
when he left, and when I offered none
he carried things to his car by the armload
for days, leaving his empty office
like a pissed-off tenant, the carpet littered
with mail and coffee stains
a worthless stereo in the closet.
Weeks later, the reaction came–
In the swelter of September
I took an ax, hurled the stereo
out on my driveway, and smashed it
into splinters and mangled wire.
Afterward, I leaned over the wreckage, spent–
a free radical, sweating and crying in the heat.


Quote source:


Sharon Wright Mitchell studied literature and education at the University of Georgia. She contributed to I AMSTRENGTH by Blind Faith Books and has been published in The Wild Word. She is a teacher living in Athens, GA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *