She’s taken a good, hard look at the state
of our relationship. She knows it’s not
for her. The worst thing is, she doesn’t tell
me this straight up or even to my face. No.
She books us appointments with specialists
in strip-lit rooms. They peer at us over paper
masks with eyes whose kindness I can’t bear.
They speak of our marriage in images:
a pint of milk that’s on the turn, an egg
whose yolk is punctured, leaking through
the rest, a tree whose one, rotten root
is poisoning the leaves. I try to understand
how much of us is sick. I want to know
what they can do to put us right. She,
whose soft shape I have lain with every night,
who’s roamed with me in rooky woods, round
rocky heads. She, who’s witnessed the rain
pattering on the reedbed, the cut-glass chitter
of long-tailed tits, the woodpecker rehearsing
her single, high syllable. How have we become
this bitter pill whose name I can’t pronounce?
Soon, she’ll sleep in a bed that isn’t mine.
That’s why, these nights, we perform our trial
separations. She, buried in blankets, eyelids
flickering fast. Me, up there on, no — wait —
through the ceiling, attic, roof. I’m flying, crying,
looking down. Too soon, I whisper to her warm
and sleeping form. Not yet. Too soon. Too soon.