After All / Mark Bromberg


Do you know that moment?

That moment when the two of you are alone for the first time
     after all the phone calls have been made,
          and all the words said in haste and first awkwardness of love recalled
              with its rush of days and meetings made and missed.
All your foolishness rising into feeling and hurried unexpected partings.
      The out-of-town postcards reading I'm sorry too
          but never mailed in the rush back, forgotten, in the bottom of hotel drawers
                       and missing their exotic postmarks.
In the moment after all the lovers' strategies have been played,
      you lie in each other's arms for the first time
            wondering what it was that took so long to be there.

Do you know that moment? I thought so.

After all, you think to yourself, these arms are so like another's
 arms
     (as you kiss them slowly)
           and these are eyes that have looked at me before
                (even as you notice again how blue they are)
and how the neck curves just so (but after all is just a neck,
     no matter how poetically inclined it is).
          There have been other lovers, after all, each with their neck just so.

How this first time is different.
     There is a meaning you never caught before:
         a certain yes in the way a curtain moves across a window,
               or how the shadow of a candle's flame
                    dances on a wall, and now you know.

After all those lovers and after all those days of want,
      you find love in the intersecting moment
            when the orange lays neatly sliced
                 and forgotten on the kitchen table.

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