When he came in before his wife, as always,
And hung his jacket on the hook, and sat,
And noted for the thousandth time the dull ways
That beams streamed through the panes and
crawled the floor,
He recognized for once the light that strained
Toward him. It was mercy. And the more
He tried to see it as a passing phase,
The more his marriage seemed to be just that:
A casual failure, not worth blame or praise,
But tolerance. Outside it gently rained—
A sun shower, something odd, an easy clue
That life's not merciless, but scatter-brained.
A rainbow circumscribed the joy he feigned
As the key turned; as she ducked past, withdrew.
1998; originally printed in the Formalist.
Reprinted by permission
of the author.
Complements Countrystyle Graphics