So little happened how we thought it would.
We’ve never been to Vegas. Parenthood
turned out to be a good mistake, but hard.
You’re still working for your dad. Our credit card
gets maxed out every year at Christmas time,
and we cut coupons, but haven’t saved a dime
for that down-payment on a house, some land,
out in the country. There’s no magic wand,
I know, there’s only so much we can do—
but there’s this picture, it’s of me and you,
way back before we’d gotten married, before
life got its teeth in us, in the bottom drawer
on my side of the bed. It’s our first place,
some party. We’re just talking, and your face
is turned away, but I look at how your hand
sits easy on my waist, the way you stand
with your whole body leaning into me—
and I remember how we thought we’d be.
Down the picture, there’s a long white scar
from where it folds—and I know what we are
and what we aren’t, that nothing stays the same—.
You might be sleeping, but I say your name,
then I lie awake, and I wonder if you heard,
your breath so steady, it almost breaks my heart.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 32 Number 2, on page 32
Copyright © 2020 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com