THE TEARS OF THINGS
Conventionally, lovers should part
in a soft storm of blown hopes
and unconsumed potential. Tears
blur the old horizons and refract
a new world in which one is the number.
Some might perceive a beauty in
this crafted heartbreak, others simply
paradox: from the grit of parting
the tears that form are like pearls.
Or blood may be shed: spitting slanders
the lovers may wheel and dive
like wolves in a corner, the one
heartsick on betrayal, the other one
punch-drunk with guilt. Little to choose,
maybe, between the hall of mirrors
and the killing floor, but passion spent
and smoke where once was fire
are markers for despair. The truth
is more prosaic. Just after dawn
they’re sitting in a car. The street
is narrow and the houses small
and terraced. The engine mutters
and he leaves it running, a string
of phonemes all about departure.
A man clips a breakfast posy, turns
and goes indoors. “Gather ye rosebuds
while ye may”, she murmurs and
the silence shivers but it doesn’t break.
He lifts her tear onto his knuckle,
tastes its salt as last communion,
floats the final platitudes. She
steps out; he drives away.