I negotiate with my dinner roll,
setting down my butter knife,
I chew with someone else’s mouth.
My hands are shy and busy

weaving a new napkin in my lap.
Romance eats slowly and
never orders from the quagmire
menu – broccoli, onion

and spaghetti. If you are thinking
about later, you remain calm
explaining something I didn’t
hear the beginning of that ends

with a smile, then laughter and
Kahlua. I am hopeful that someday
I can tell you love isn’t dinner out.
It’s the flu and taxes and the fuel

bill during the coldest winter of
our lives. And you don’t walk out
because it’s difficult. You walk out
because it’s Thursday evening

when you set the garbage cans
at the street, and I love you for it.


if only

autumn photo of leaves

if winter was some other
summer than white, and spring
wasn’t rushed into its good-byes,

if the ocean was some other
Great Lake, and the garden grew
forgetful until harvesting,

how I would make of my lifetime
an autumn season where finding
you was some other seeking than