A Friendship

He made restless forays
into the edge of our marriage.
One Christmas Eve he came late,
his dark hair crackling with frost,
and ate his carnation buttonhole
to amuse the baby.
When I had a second child
he came to the foot of my bed at dusk
bringing pineapples and champagne,
whispering ‘Are you awake?’ –
singing a snatch of opera.
The Nurse tapped him on the shoulder.
At the end, we took turns at his bedside.
I curled up in the chair; listened to each breath
postponing itself indefinitely.
He opened his eyes once and I leaned forward:
‘Is there anything you want?’
‘Now she asks,’ he murmured.

first published in Central Reservations (Bloodaxe, 1990), © Connie Bensley 1990, from Finding a Leg to Stand On (Bloodaxe, 2012), used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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