Lynne Knight


They looked so long into each other
I sometimes had to look away

Or sometimes they’d be sitting side by side
and he’d put his hand in her long hair 
and I’d watch it lift, fall,
lift, fall,
all the while he was talking and she had her hand
on his thigh, maybe, or at her throat,
where I imagined she would hold it
in the calm after coming

She was beautiful, thin and soft breasted
Their children had names that sounded like water
Sometimes she’d go out on the porch and call to them
and it would be like hearing water run clear
over rocks
Once he went out behind her and ran his hands
along her thighs, up to her breasts,
where they stopped
When the children came down from the woods 
he stood there like that, talking to them
She leaned her head back on his shoulder

I know you are impatient to hear it did not last,
it was too perfect, I felt betrayed the day I heard
they had split up
But nothing like that happened
They went on as they always had
The children grew, the years began to tell,
and whenever I would see them I would feel
the same insistent heat

One day she came alone
when she knew my lover would be gone
This was early on, their youngest girl still a baby
I was pregnant with my own, just beginning to show
She spooned brown sugar in her tea, no cream
Her eyes were green like the sea after rain

I’ve decided to tell you something she said
You and no other because something in your face haunts me
I love someone else, someone impossible
He doesn’t even live in this country
She laughed, a terrible laugh, but not like weeping
Then the baby started to fuss and we went into the room
where we’d laid her to sleep on a sea of green cushions
I’ll feed her she said I won’t be long

I waited, thinking she would come back and tell me
things women tell each other about the forbidden 

But she never mentioned it again
We had more tea, the day went down in ash
over the sea, and over the years
I understood she was transforming her husband
into the one she longed for, her life
into another life, even the way she said his name,
even the way she watched me watch her