That first summer we spent so many languid hours half-dressed
on the lawn which spread between your mother’s house and the highway
that we could’ve been the calendula growing around and under us,
spicy and sun-steeped.
But calendula don’t carry tobacco in their shirt pockets,
roll thin cigarettes between gorgeously filthy fingers,
drink back the nutty smoke.
They don’t, at summer’s end,
move to a milder city,
slap a mattress on their new living room floor
splintered by stained-glass light,
admire the crown molding,
or slip into the grey tedium
of winter, of work,
argue about mud clots on the carpet,
the too-turquoise décor,
laziness and neuroticism.
They don’t press an apology between their tongues,
dream up a parcel of land
with a chicken coop,
two dogs and two kids;
find that the bathwater’s gone cold.
Wind-blown and mute they don’t fumble
with the faucet—unable to agree on temperature—
until milky water spills over the tub’s hard edges.