The Almost Affair
His mind is a beautiful riddle
I puzzle over in the small hours.
No one glorious is ever simple,
Wanting him is simple.
I want to feel his mouth up close to my ear
In impeccable italics,
And invoking his softest syllables for me alone.
I want him to lift me as though I weigh nothing
And to move me as though
I am the only woman
And I am the sea
Always aching for the safe embrace of shore.
I have caught his kisses in the dream nets
For nights now,
Their silver shoals whispering over me,
And I have woken to days where I could lace my hand through his
As gently as he laces his way through my thoughts,
With his tiny sounds and moments
As bright as silver sixpences,
To my aching magpie heart.
But he isn't the one I come home to.
My front door with its peeling blue paint
And it's key that jams
And the warm arms that greet me inside
Are someone else's.
It isn't he who puts the kettle on,
Or dusts the lampshades
Or sings in the shower
And tucks the corners in,
When I get scared.
How quickly we take for granted what we have
In the hope of what we long for.
And I remember that love must be a choice.
That every day I must point myself in the direction
I am going.
I am not a leaf to be swept along so easily.
I do not dance my way into danger
Because the breeze tells me to, anymore.
One day, a long time from now
When I sit on the porch
With the knitting I still have not mastered
And the birds singing in the nearby trees,
Beside me will be the person I married underneath the steady gaze of the sun,
The year the harvest was good.
We will be old, then, and forgetful
But we will remember enough to know
That we did well;
We faltered but we never stopped choosing each other,
Over and over.
Even when the electric was cut off,
And the children needed more new shoes
Than we could afford,
And we had learnt how to argue about things
So small we can't even see them clearly now,
If we look back.
It is luck that lets one flower survive
Where another falters,
And we had that too.
But I have chosen to plant myself here
And this is where I give my water and my light
So that more blooms may grow.
So that there will be a day
When I serve tea in the last remaining cups
From the set we were given at the wedding,
And we recall the glories of our youth, together;
The gold bands on our fingers glinting,
In the summer morning light