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Poem: The Couple 

My reading lamp shines on the turnings of a pair
of ladder-back chairs—my parents’ chairs—
laying bright spots on the high points, the balls and rings,
it settles in valleys and shallow coves,
stripes the long cylindrical posts,
ripples at the edge of rush—the seats
worn through, rewoven, worn through again.
The couple, so like the chairs in their decades together,
creaked beneath the weight of the other: their
joints loosened with age and the stress of too many children to raise,
their hopes and desires stripped and refashioned
until hammered into stubborn endurance—
endured with their resentments,
beginning and end, unalike and alone.


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