At The Laurels
She smiles. “I really fancied you.
With John alive what could I do?”
I peer at the familiar face,
wrinkled as mine. This soothing place
will cosset us until the end.
For thirty years she was our friend.
Now (my wife dead, her husband too)
we sit together. Is it true
that under her suburban poise
she longed for my affection? Noise
is muted here. Other old fools
drift in and out, observe the rules,
get fed and watered, watered, fed,
washed and dried and put to bed.
I look out at the perfect lawns.
Tears fill my eyes. The dreadful yawns
that were our lives are almost past.
I yearned for her as well. The vast
remotenesses between us are
those of two tadpoles in a jar;
yet when it mattered, when there might
have been some point in holding tight,
convention’s awful distance spanned
the universe. I hold her hand
for the first time. The skin is cold.
Our only story has been told.
from Mènage á Trois (Seren 1995), © Paul Groves 1995, used by permission of the author