Every year it happens.
We’re awash in forced romance, urged to buy cards and chocolates
For the one we should be doing this for every day.
Never mind, we say again. It’s not for us.
After 47 years together we look at each other
And shake our heads, like we do every year.
We made a pact, decades ago, to ignore this phony “holiday.”
Instead, we tend to go quiet as we remember what it really
Took to be able to still look at one another with
Respect and deep affection and a simple gratitude that
It wasn’t any harder than it was.
We feel like those who’ve been through combat do,
Stripped of all illusions and gauzy sentiments.
We’ve survived the testing of souls, when so many haven’t,
And still treasure a deep, seasoned, clear-eyed love.
How hard it was…
“For better or worse,” and there was plenty of “worse”.
We don’t have any secret solution,
Just a fundamental comfort in still being able to look
Across the room at the other and say
“At least she’s not like that friend of hers from college,
The one I almost ended up with, the one that exuded
Sex from every pore. Who danced naked at a concert once and became a Scientologist
And took too many tabs of LSD. Who, after three husbands
And two women partners, is living alone with her ghosts in a one-bedroom
Mobile home on a scrubby street in California,
Just in those trees, over there, behind the tire store,
Feeding her 7 cats and talking to Jim Morrison and a
Retired blackjack dealer two doors down.
That’s not very romantic, but after all this time,
After all the things life throws at you,
It’s something to still be able to look across the room
And say “Yes. This has been good.”