May 28, 2006

The Croquet Player and I

from Run River

Maybe the most difficult, most important thing anyone could do for anyone else was to leave him alone; it was perhaps the only gratuitous act, the act of love.

What had it all been about: all the manque promises, the failures of love and faith and honor...we were each other, not that it mattered much in the long run, but what else mattered as much.

--Joan Didion

from "At the End of the Affair"

...considering the hairsbreadth accident of touch
the nightcap leads to--how it protracts
the burst of colors, the sweetgrass of two tongues
...for such
a man and a woman--bearing in mind those facts,

better to break glass, sop with towels, tear
snapshots up, pour whiskey down the drain
than reach and tangle in the same old snare
saying the little lies again.

-- Maxine Kumin

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