Two lovers on Spruce Street (poem)

Two lovers on Spruce Street

these two lovers are—
if you could add them up—
one hundred and fifty-six years old
and about ten and a half feet tall.
together they are carrying the groceries home
in bags proportioned exactly to their size and hunger.

he walks curbside, as his mother taught him,
she tucks herself under his arm
and their steps are together, together
his hand is lightly on her shoulder
and it flickers, molds the curve of her back
with each step they take in step.

the young folks hurrying up behind them
are calculating how to pass
and whether to flash the lights of their youth
or beep the horn of their city cheerfulness
and then a vision slows them down
and some common wind takes them aback
and into the wake of these two lovers.

the young people see his hand
in motion on her body
the young woman's man sees a dying leaf trembling
as it falls, afraid of the cold, the wind, the night
the hand shivered— or did it flutter?
is it already dead, that five-lobed leaf
that dances along her back?
the young man's woman sees a silver moth
ripened, perfect, just as promised,
imago of some past worm of fleshy love.

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