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One Flesh

 Lying apart now, each in a separate bed, 
He with a book, keeping the light on late, 
She like a girl dreaming of childhood, 
All men elsewhere - it is as if they wait 
Some new event: the book he holds unread, 
Her eyes fixed on the shadows overhead.
Tossed up like flotsam from a former passion, How cool they lie.
They hardly ever touch, Or if they do, it is like a confession Of having little feeling - or too much.
Chastity faces them, a destination For which their whole lives were a preparation.
Strangely apart, yet strangely close together, Silence between them like a thread to hold And not wind in.
And time itself's a feather Touching them gently.
Do they know they're old, These two who are my father and my mother Whose fire from which I came, has now grown cold?

by Elizabeth Jennings
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