They decide finally not to speak
of it, the one blemish in their otherwise
blameless marriage. It happened
as these things do, before the permanence
was set, before the children grew
complicated, before the quench
of loving one another became all
each of them wanted from this life.
Years later the bite
of not knowing (and not wanting
to know) still pierces the doer
as much as the one to whom it was done:
the threadbare lying, the insufferable longing,
the inimitable lack of touching, the undoing
Poem copyright ©2009 by Andrea Hollander Budy, whose most recent book of poems is Woman in the Painting, Autumn House, 2006. Poem reprinted from Shenandoah, Vol. 59, no. 1, by permission of Andrea Hollander Budy and the publisher.
Poems by Andrea Hollander