Know I did not speak ill of you


when you left me weeping and pregnant


in the suburbs, for that girl with spiked hair


and a tongue ring. I have not defaulted


on the mortgage, or revealed to your enemies


your smoldering secret - how you liked it


when I pretended to have betrayed you with Robert


and you turned on the spit of minor-league jealousy,


the kind with no penalty, since you knew I was


faking. Nor in regard to naughtier longings


did I turn loquacious, nor list for other women

your shortfalls. Grant me, then, the child-support


payments, which, after all, result from your indulgence and my gullibility, trusting that things you said


in private might be taken literally. Forgetting,


under the spell of your rhetoric, that declarations


men make while inside women


will be retroactively rescinded

on withdrawal. Though you, of all people, had the temerity


to question my fidelity - believe me, the child


is ours. In honor, then, of our son's innocence,


rise, please, to this fiduciary occasion.


We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.