POEM: the couple

BY ROGER PAO

The reserves of his heart plummeted towards the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. She put her arms around him.She handed him Kleenex. She stood beside him at the funeral. She gave him time and space to recover. Only littleby little did she realize that there was nothing she could do.

They went through the motions of life. They bothremained enrolled in law school. They attended classes.They ate dinner together. They applied for summer jobs. They had solid friends. They kept up the normalcythat she believed they would keep up for the rest

of their lives. The two of them had become a family.She noticed that most of their acquaintances had come to accept that as a fact. She had not accepted it yet. Even asshe made love to him, she wondered whether a part of his heart would always escape hers. She wondered

whether a part of his heart would always be too painful or violent or afraid or shameful for anyone to see and comprehend. Sometimes, when he would be saying nothing, she would know he meant more. She asked him about it once. He seemed surprised and reassured her all was well.

That night, she stayed awake in bed till five in the morningthinking about people. How are you doing? I am doing well.People are easy to please that way. She was one of them.It felt downright inescapable and normal. As a girl,she had wanted it to be different. Now she was a woman

in the same way that he was a man. They were filled with private desires they could scarcely appreciate as their own. They would be lawyers soon enough. They would be competent ones who made judgments to the best of their ability. She loved the way the moon christened

their torsos. A part of her heart would always escape his.

Comments