The Secret to a Happy Marriage

Photo by Tycho Atsma via Unsplash
Photo by Tycho Atsma via Unsplash

Can it really have taken me
sixteen years to realize you can
live in the same house with someone
and still lose track of them?

It’s true.

We occasionally lose
each other, somewhere among
discarded Legos and Everest piles
of laundry, too many words to be written
or deciding the best way to teach
dangling participles, the size of the solar system. Our words cross and
mismatch and fall, seeds
on parched August ground, hard
as pavement. Is
there a more complicated maze
than the everyday household routine?
Is there anywhere easier to lose someone
than in the daily humdrum of a life?

The two of us
we go from found to lost
in the time it takes to zombie-walk
to the baby’s bed at 2am and fall
asleep on the scratchy carpet, in the time
it takes to nurse a child’s hurt feelings on
the third floor, coming back to bed
only to find the
other has already fallen asleep.

Maybe the key to this thing called
isn’t remaining in love
(Lord knows I love you)
or sticking to those vows
(rules parch and crack and can’t
keep a meaningful thing together)
but maybe
the key is finding the energy
or the courage
to keep finding each other again
and again.

They leave us after dinner, all
five children, and we’re staring
the vast distance from one end of the table
to the other, because a family this size
requires a large table, and the distance
from one end to the other
can feel like the span of the Sahara. Lost
and found.

But then one of us moves closer
and we talk quietly while the sound
of their steps rains down from above.
Or we walk this city in which I love you,
holding hands
breathing in the lights
remembering the sweet feeling
that casual ecstasy
of being found again
by someone you have loved for so long.

Maybe the key to finding each other
is discovering ways
every day
that we can get lost
all over again. Maybe the seeds
that fall on pavement can still
find the winding crack
burrow deep
and sprout green life
in this city.

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3 Replies to “The Secret to a Happy Marriage”

  1. Lovely poem. So much wisdom here. We can lose each other even if there aren’t any children. Walls, hurt, silence can come up. I think the trick might be to stand by and wait with love and patience and even quiet. Then forgiveness.

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