This Life And No Other

John Grey

John Grey

This Life and No Other was selected as part of MSU Library Short Edition's call for submissions on the theme of "Home," in coordination with the MSU Broad Art Museum's exhibition "Where We Dwell."

In this life together, we have chosen to live no other lives.
It's easier than I imagined. We stay in one place
and yet we roll around like the seasons. Spring buds.
Summer puts out new leaves. Fall colors them plenty.
Then winter strips down bare. And all without us
straying from the picture window. Yes, we've grown slack.
But I like to think we've gotten wiser. And your beauty,
once as sharp as wind has grown more melancholy.
And my energy has lost a little rhythm. It treats
the cold as something much colder, the heat as if it
has never been this hot. And furrows show up in the brow.
But, unlike with farmland, those grooves are never seeded.
At least, death's not getting impatient for us. It doesn't
know what to make of our modest lives, our steady attention
to what needs doing around the house. For now, it's more
concerned with guys on motorcycles, skydivers, or poor
souls in nursing homes. And pleasure is much more simple
since those days of hot sex. A good meal gets its attention.
Or even the two of us standing at the window, watching
rain fall. It assumes the guise of a rabbit nibbling in our
garden. Or a conversation with a neighbor over a fence.
And there's pain but it stays clear of the heart. Bills
are a symptom. So are leaking roofs. And tradesmen.
We dream of course and, from time to time, we find our
subconscious has traveled far from where we live, doing
what we'd never dare do with people who we hardly know
or even complete strangers. But, when we awaken, those
fantasies fade. Reality reinstates itself. We're back in this
life together. We've come through "what if?" unscathed.

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