The Couple

woman restingUncoupled.
He moving on without her
through the glass clockworks
to a place where
no looking back
can see anything.
She living in the same house,
moving around his silence,
setting the same table,
taking Rosy for her walk
without his arm.

He saying good-bye quickly,
walking quickly, as off to war.
Long before Tom and Bill,
Uncle Bud and George.
He growing no older now,
like some tired child
long meant for bed, but for his fuss
allowed to stay. Instead,
not hesitating, went up, up and on,
up and away. And she
planting next year’s bulbs
anyway. Selling the mower,
hiring the boy.
Wearing his shirts to bed.

The chatter of the day still circling
like pipe smoke in the Christmas air.
Where once a sleeper’s nudge
had marked the night
with some familiar line or joke,
now memory has overgrown the mind;
their lives so intertwined,
that every thought answers
for the other
even without the other,
Not as a memory
but as an echo
against the silence of a white wall.

Copyright © 2000 Susan Dane • All rights reserved.
Selection from GOOD-BYE TO WHITE KNIGHTS and other moving vehicles—IV. Unwrapping the Night.