It was our final day together
During an awkward time, strolling purposely in the woods
Beyond town, sheltered by the interconnected canopy
Of colluding beech, joined in suppositious intimacy.
Pausing where serried rows of heavy-leafed fern gathered
Around a half-hidden stream,
And we stopped, lying down to make love.
In the cold fading light.
Fox and badger shuffled anxiously away, spooked by our jerky movements and unsteady moans.
We parted as the moon began blooming in the dark sky,
She returning to her husband, I to my wife.
I saw her again, I, an old man in a dirty coat fluttering in the wind,
Snatching at dying memories, remembering
A hundred other women in a hundred places,
Their features in lustful heat evaporating like water.
Seated on a park bench, a grandmother with a swollen leg
Bent over and senile, I, in a momentary, flashing epiphany, recognised her smile.
Her eyes, that once I loved, shrivelled by cataracts, she bellowed
At ghosts in the sunlight.
Identifying her long-dead husband in the gathering shadows.
Our frequent copulation had always been long and energetic
Enough to light up half the town, our laughter lighted
Up the rest. Walking through the fields or sitting in modest
Restaurants, our conversation roamed from favoured food to preferred, most stimulating books.
Mutually absorbed, we happily exhausted our youth!
Fifty years later, dribbling through
Pavement traffic, a strange, erratic
Coalition of people, bikes and mobility scooters,
She thrust out a shrivelled arm towards me,
An exclamation mark on a memory of soft bleached skin
Dripping with love,
Vaguely recalling me as a shade from a more
I shrank away from that shambling, once beautiful, form,
Refusing and betraying her,
Our lives and bodies once gloriously entwined; her fate also mine.
I remained unalterably committed to her altered end,
Minds fading gently together.