So, after all that time, I found her rings
(or echoes of them, such as they were)
encoded on a sliver of Palmolive
left high and dry in a scallop shell
on the kitchen sill, back of the curtains.

Faint indentations: one flawed half-smile
and a pair of zeros silted up
with pollen from dead moths. Enagement,
wedding and (wry afterthought?)
eternity. Sweet nothings speaking
only for themselves.

                          Because I relished
spasms of uxurious ill-conscience,
I never wived her. When the question arose
(as often it did) we quenched it
between us, in one way or another.

So I supposed. But now, in fits and starts
of wakeful sleep, I may de-crypt
the muted snap of her nomadic handbag;
heeltaps down the corridor; a neighbour's
rusty lurcher whingeing like a closing gate.




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