If You're Not Leaving for a Two-Year Deep Space Mission
by Janine Certo



keep it PG rated kids, says Mr. Purdy,
Mr. Social Grace, author of Marvelous
Manners for the Modern Metropolis,
and I agree, who needs spectacle
and show? But not just hands under
clothes, the dunk under skirted table, drunk
tongue on tongue. I mean the guy I knew
who carried his young wife from the theatre
to his car when it snowed. Lookers-on
applauded. She had good boots. He left
her a year later for someone new. You
wrote an Italian sonnet for me and told
no one, built my old dog a dining
tray to perfect height, burrowed your head
in my neck across eight states, nine countries,
and fourteen kitchens. Even now, in middle age,
when we were in Douglas, Michigan, tourists
gone, the light just right, chrysanthemums
displayed outside shops to shimmer and glare,
and you put your arm around my shoulder
and kept it there the entire way as we walked, that was all
I needed. I don’t want to dance on ledges
of city fountains or to stand on a public
bench to be kissed, heads turning
side to side. Just a gesture to say,
Hey, world, we’re out here, walking
the street together, alive together, holding
each other up, carrying each other
on.


Janine Certo





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