Long Marriage

We had come to the restaurant from our separate days
so after the vindaloo, the biryani and naan

shared with others around the table, after the talk of books
and mixtapes, how difficult it is to put words or poems

or songs in the right order, to say what is true if not exactly
what happened, we drove home in our separate cars,

your license plate and the silhouette of your head
illuminated in the streetlights in front of me

as we wove together in and out of traffic, stopping
at the same corners, occasionally losing each other

when another car turned out of a side street but then
finding each other a block or two later, until all

other cars had taken off in their own directions
while we continued, the two of us alone now,

through the narrow darkened streets of our neighborhood
to the alley where the black cat who lives under our house

ran into the yard ahead of us, low to the ground,
like our son who, during his high school years, slipped

into the house through the basement door he’d left
unlocked, expecting he might want to miss his curfew.

I turned on the lights, filled a cup with kibble for you
to feed the cat, neither of us having to ask or answer.

Susanna Lang’s third collection of poems, Travel Notes from the River Styx, was released in 2017 from Terrapin Books. Two chapbooks were published in 2020, Self-Portraits (Blue Lyra Press) and Dear Girls (dancing girl press).  A two-time Hambidge fellow, her poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in such publications as Prairie Schooner, december, New Poetry in Translation, The Literary Review, American Life in Poetry and The Slowdown.  Her translations of poetry by Yves Bonnefoy include Words in Stone and The Origin of Language, and she is now working with Nohad Salameh and Souad Labbize to translate their poems. She lives and teaches in Chicago. More information available at www.susannalang.com.

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