drawn for Carrie
Impatient in the room where they slept,
waiting for him to retire, her eyes open
to the dark, she followed the right angle
of wall and ceiling. They had years
A couple takes a box (we must fill and fill
with endless longing). She could hear
herself engaging those words with him,
long after the proposition lost its appeal.
Upon first meeting, he looked at her
practically. Hers was an unusual thirst
he explained willingly, effectively. Together
they excelled. They surprised each other
with stories, sketches of the people
around them, people walking in the park
and through the museum and restaurants.
In his study down the hall, Sundays especially
he belonged to the biography unfinished
at work, refusing supper. To her his dedication
seemed one-sided, unreasonably withheld,
like a psalm sung under one’s breath.
She pictured them in Phrygia, aging
husband and wife hosting discreet gods,
incapable of outliving each other…wary
of that joint sting: bluff and abandonment.
He had shown her how to be circumspect
and critical. His version. Told her how
to invent a past irrefutable to most anyone.
He confirmed each significant anniversary
of his subject—between the two of them
only she could detail their first afternoon
He came in late. She wanted to touch him
where he had no choice, but he turned away,
preoccupied. She whispered, History’s more
an iceberg: stark, cyclopean. The dark mass
of his shirt, pressed for the morning, hanging
on a chair, startled her for a second.