Old Flame - Poem by Bruce Beaver
I was friendly with a woman once.
It was an unusual experience.
There were certain innate boundaries
and the inevitably marked frontiers.
Occasionally one crossed them to meet the other.
It apparently had something to do with sex.
Before I had a chance to explain my shortcomings
she quickly justified her limitations.
A woman senses things at once — so does a man.
Though not wholly man or woman I call myself man
because as they say a womb makes all the difference.
(This living in the sphere of double distortion
is everything the priests promised and more —
sometimes they threatened but mostly they promised.)
Nevertheless, we confided to a certain degree.
She told me of varied potions and the effect they had
on people. I told her of poisons and the way they tasted
when cleverly disguised in food and drink.
She was less than half my age which may have had
something to do with it all. She was not beautiful —
neither was I. We offset rather than complemented.
I met her at a banquet and liked the way she spoke,
sibilantly and surely. I also admired
the way her ears flattened against her coiffure.
Between us we managed to account for
a number of politicians and several self-confident
business people. Quite detachedly, without fuss.
We were employed extramurally
by a society of leading citizens —
but that was aeons ago and besides,
she has been dead it seems to me far longer
than I have been alive. From time to time
I miss her, for after all we had been partners
in something like crime or catering an almost domestic
arrangement, a limited company of two making
the best of things in a world of all possible sexes.
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