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

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