Peter Kline

Long Division

I’ve been taught to expect divide. 
Keep your hands on your own side.
Birth cut me from my mother 
but it started earlier: 
before I even had a heart 
they put me in a place apart 
without a light, without a light. 
No wonder if my heart’s not right. 

I’ve got a feel for separateness. 
We both decided it was best, 
considering how quietly 
you became you, I became me 
until we didn’t know each other, 
to civilly unswear together 
what we’d sworn, and meant, for good. 
Life parted us before death could. 

The universal law is Split— 
I tried to make the most of it; 
Gave all my work away for free 
and found I’d sold my dignity; 
Severed all relationships 
and wound up straddling the hips 
of loneliness, the gentlejohn 
who spends the night with everyone.