written by: Stanley Wilkin
How strange it was to see her there
After so much suffering. Her dying marriage
A bleeding and untreated smear,
Disguising a love neither would salvage.
The music played, the guests danced
With savage partners whose love retreated and advanced.
His awkward lover lingers quietly in the room
By turn shade, shadow, and silhouette,
She sways slowly to each repeated tune
Too triumphantly passionate to experience regret.
Mistress and wife assuming ignorance
Of each other’s uncomfortable presence.
The loss of another’s love can wound
More brutally than the lover’s death
The secession of an intimate bond
Becomes a winding, coagulating mess.
When lovers connect they forget
What broke when they met.
A slow guitar riff makes her weep.
She takes my hand. She calls me friend.
I smile, with thoughts of my own to keep,
My own unanswered love to tend.
I kindly wipe away her tears,
But not my own. Those I’ve kept for years.
Beautiful songs, erratically played,
He glances towards her, smiles and leaves,
She turns away, both destroyed and dismayed,
Stands silently in the septic light and grieves.
I take her hand, but she pulls quickly away
I offer her a drink. She declines and will not stay.
I buy another whisky at the bar, tossing it down.
In a cruelly dissipating cloud her fresh perfume lingers
Mimicking her hollowed presence. My phone rings and I frown.
My forgiving wife is calling. With guilt and regret, my fingers
Tighten around the glass. I say: “Honey, I’ll be home soon.”
And, like others, leave the signifying gloom.
Touched by the sharp morning light
Half-empty glasses, abandoned halls,
Breaking out from the hasty coition of the night
Love radiates, caresses, falls.
When ubiquitous lovers combine it highlights briefly
The loneliness of those who love discretely
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