Beggared Promise

I sat in the middle of my marriage.
She orbited me touching compass points.

Our house was large enough
for us to not see each other all the time.

The dogs liked the middle where I sat
when thunder rolled through the valley.

Otherwise the dogs were near her
especially when she worked the garden.

We practiced tender temperaments
like some people practice yoga.

We liked best
when there was nothing between us.

But I know you know
such states do not last forever.

The map of our marriage
marked where there may be dragons.

That is what happens when the map
is the flat page of our daughter’s death certificate.

The tenderness we practiced served us well
negotiating divorce.

That was a long time ago.
A shimmering halo of released doves.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

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