We return at nightfall, shoulders bowed, weighed down by slights and insults. They
fall from us at the door,
as everything beyond these walls recedes. The horns and sirens, the pain and
desperation that invade our outside life,
all are silenced.
We join each other and sit, and rise and sit, in unison. Then cleansed, we bow our
letting love seep over the table until even the most humble
foods-- the potatoes, the salt--feel shy and deeply cherished.
When the meal ends, we find that we are pulled apart strand by strand, that the
walls and floor are as deeply connected
as our arms and legs. The elements have to weave
and reweave as we move from room to room, sitting down in one
or walking out of another. We connect almost as fluidly,
as strangers, Couteous, we pass in the hallways without touching;
we close each door with the faintest sound; we say please
and thank you and God bless you again and again, as though the act
of sneezing were a form prayer and we were only answering
in kind. In silence, we perform the ritual ablutions, as we always
have; bathing in the dim sunlight of the morning
washing our faces
as we undress for bed. And in the end we lift the quilts and find
each other there, waiting. every breath reverent,
every touch of skin a testament.