Ten years

Kathy McVey

It was in summer,
after more than ten summers,
that Mary and John agreed to separate.
The seasons obliged; this final summer
concluding just as their marriage did.

Autumn was arduous,
as autumn often is,
but Mary established another house
and the two of them sorted out the money
and shared custody,
and they said hateful things to one another,
their friendship and respect
cast like the dead,
drab leaves to the ground.

They hibernated at a distance
individually, for the winter.
They stoked blood-brightening fires
and sat beside them with new friends
and old movies,
developing solitary preferences
for different meals and unshared books.

But every spring
new life appears,
and even for John and Mary this is true.
In spring they unfurl towards
each other once more,
growing whole new branches,
extending into unfamiliar spaces.

Together on sunny spring days,
they take their small son fishing at the wharf,
and on these occasions
they say hello and goodbye again with open hearts
and they always take turns,
but each time
one of them has to drive away
without the boy.


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