The bridge between us is a shambles. Water cascades between us. John Gray would say that you’re from Mars whereas I am from Venus. Most of what I treasure you consider superficial. We are so far apart that we should now make it official. You go your way, I’ll go mine, with no one to convene us. It should not be traumatic so let’s just try to wean us from all those little petty things that once brought us together, like quince preserves, Scrabble and a fear of stormy weather.
We’d snuggle up and toast some toast and slather on the jelly, bring out the quilts and Scrabble board and just ignore the telly. Pepperoni pizza and rum and Cokes and cards once kept our crystalline affair from shattering to shards. But since we’re both on diets from pizza and each other, the blanket that once comforted now only serves to smother. I’ll go my way, you go yours, as though we never met, and if I’m craving Scrabble, I’ll use the Internet!
I’m held captive by your wrinkles, dear, enraptured by your ripples. I love your freckles and your moles and all of nature’s stipples. They are sacred landmarks. When I find one that is new, I must give thanks to nature for adding more of you.
Sometimes with the darkness around us rich and deep, my mind goes on a walkabout as you lie asleep. The roadmap of your body is the terrain that I pace— the ravines and the gullies and your face’s fragile lace.
Some bemoan the changes that nature brings about, and they bring a different beauty. It’s true, without a doubt. But as I trace each special feature of your body and your face, I’m reassured that nature’s carving instills a deeper grace.
It was a sort of lunacy that prompted our grand comedy. One sticky bun, two mugs of tea predated our dependency. As you passed, you looked so yearningly at that last bun, and jealously surveyed my plate most zealously, wishing it had gone to thee.
Later, when you got up to pee, I took note of your truancy and put the bun where it should be— there on your plate. When finally, you returned, you viewed with glee where that bun had come to be, viewing it most quizzically and pondering the mystery of this delicious legacy. You glanced around to try to see its origins, and finally, you saw my empty plate, and me.
I remember with such piquancy how swiftly you ensorcelled me— first with your smile, and eventually by your approach and finally by your sweet generosity as you brought the bun to share with me, sat at my table, crossed foot on knee, and conversed with so much vibrancy that “I” and “you” turned into “we.”
It was our first romantic tryst— A morning tea break with a twist.
I wish I’d set the truth aside. I wish instead that I had lied when you asked the reason why I didn’t choose the other guy. I wish I’d said you’d won my heart quickly, from the very start.
But, alas, I told the truth. Blame it on my careless youth. It was, perhaps, naïveté that made me answer you that way. I said you were my second choice, then heard that quaver in your voice.
For all those years forever after, I’ve recalled your bitter laughter as you said you guessed you’d wait for the type of girl who’d rate you first when making her selection, and thus began your swift defection.
After all these years, I’ll tell
that I remember very well
regrets I suffered at your leaving—
all those nights of futile grieving.
Watching as you met your wife,
had your kids and built your life.
Every few years at class reunions
as we all share our fond communions,
I’ll catch your eye and feel the spark
that goes unnoticed in the dark.
And every day, until I die,
I’ll wish I’d told that little lie.
I once basked in your bonfire, and though no one quite remembers when we last caught fire, I’m warming fingers at your embers. Slow steady fires that survive, snoozing ‘neath the ashes have the same mysterious lure as winks obscured by lashes. Passion need not flame to warm the cockles of one’s heart. What was a wild onslaught at its very start may settle down to a warm glow or a steady smolder. Loving hand placed over hand —her head upon his shoulder.
Memories of her
stretch out like a voluptuous lover
over the couch of his mind.
He takes refuge in them in his loneliness,
gathering a sequelae
of the aftereffects of her loss
like a scratchy woolen blanket
drawn by habit,
offering little comfort.