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Posts Tagged ‘long marriage’

The New Courting

Love, of course you’re not worthy

and I am not worthy, either.

Who do we think we are?

After twenty years, don’t

we know failure by now,

each other’s and our own?

There’s so little to hide,

and still we try to prove, what?

That we are good?

Oh love, my dear one, bring me

your undeserving hands,

I will give you my stained hands,

too, and let us hold each other

the way only two damaged

people can do—as if the world

depends on it, knowing full well

that it does.

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All night we turn

into each other’s arms

between dreams,

readjusting our bellies,

our backs, our toes

so they touch each other

lightly. Not the fumbling

of the newly met,

but the tenderness

of the long married,

we who know the

other’s body—all

the angles and softnesses,

all the positions where we

gently fit if only we bend an elbow

just so, if only we move

our leg just here—

how easy it is

to bend together

through darkness, how

beautiful to find you,

to be found.

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Weather Report

Though they predicted gray and snow,
the sun grew warmer all day long,
the sky crescendoed blue—

how could I help but pinch myself
that’s how it’s been with me and you.

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I was a river
then and you,
you were a god.
What did we know
of drought? There
was nothing
I could not smooth
given time. You,
you would wade
in me and I delighted
in playing against
your roughness,
pulled you deeper
deeper in. You
did not struggle
to leave. We did
not measure time
in hours, nor in waves,
nor in kisses, we
had no need
to measure. Those
were the days
we never forgot
that we belong
to each other.

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The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.
—Joyce Sutphen

Is it true the heart remembers
everything it loved and gave away?
Just today I recalled
that sweet Mormon boy
who I fell in love with
at a speech tournament,
perhaps in the final round when
he beat me. What was his name?
I recall how we ate
at a greasy spoon in Denver
late, late at night
but did we eat pancakes?
Or cupcakes? Or eggs?
He didn’t kiss me, did he?
Though I wanted him to.
He was slender
and had dark hair and such
sincere eyes, and I loved
to laugh at his clean, clean jokes.
You could argue he was found again
in the heart’s archives
after passing a late night restaurant
that reminded me of the one we liked,
but he is more forgotten to me
now than remembered.
What color were his eyes?
What country was he leaving for?
What was it he did
that made my heart thrill?
It is, perhaps, like
how my husband and I
now take our children
with us on trips to foreign lands.
I remember my husband’s mother saying,
You know he won’t remember Argentina,
speaking of my three-year-old boy.
And I thought, that is not the point.
The point is he learns early what it is
to be a citizen of the world.
And so it is he has grown to love
travel and people and learning new things
and seeing new landscapes and
saying thank you in other tongues.
And he does not remember
a thing about Argentina.
And so it is, perhaps, that
all of those lovers I don’t remember,
and the ones who I vaguely, sweetly do,
they were in their way
all preparing me to be a better
love to you. Although I have forgotten
names and conversations,
inside jokes and back alley kisses,
the heart perhaps remembers
how it opened then. It was practicing
the best it could to love you, now,
though the love we have is nothing
like what I thought love would be.
How simple it was before, a side
of maple syrup, a station wagon
with a full tank of gas
and a whole night that lasted
partway to forever.

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