The lines carved in her face match
the long, meandering trail of their lives.
His impatient love steadies
her anxious calm, and they know.
They know the steps it takes
to get from house to road and back.
She knows the words that fuel
his little boy insides housed
in gristled and calloused skin.
He hears her voice long after
she has left the house to play Bridge.
He has never done taxes, liked candles
or vacuumed the stairs.
But his love song to her leaves him bloodied
from stray hammer blows rebuilding the deck;
purple from not looking up to see
the corner of the new shelves for her pantry;
broken from dropping the new pedestal sink
on toes, much more fragile still.
She covered his shivering husk when
he caught pneumonia last year during harvest;
cut his gnarled toenails when his new hip
denied him the movement to do it himself;
combed his hair because, well, it needed it.
Deeply divetted in the haunches of time
were daily walks to the gate by the gravel road.
Their son-in-law took a picture last year.
They were on a winter walk.
It hangs on a silent mantel –
that still remembers them.