Anniversary Soak

What kind of love is this when she 

lifts down the urn from its high place 

and takes the top off gingerly 

as if about to see his face 


and then rolls down her stockings as 

she did that first night they were wed 

while he lay back there, bold as brass, 

a bronzed young god upon the bed? 


What sort of memory is kept 

alive as both the taps are turned? 

That marriage day they never slept 

but like two endless fuses burned. 


She steps into the swirling heat, 

uncertain whether she should stoop 

or kneel. She looks down at her feet 

and tips the ashes in. The soup 


that greyly laps her limbs is him, 

the only man she ever craved, 

the only one to keep her warm, 

with whom alone she misbehaved. 

from Academe (Seren 1988), © Paul Groves 1988, used by permission of the author

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