Image of shelter


Barbecue at Brendan and Tom's

Who does what
is a staple of their conversation --
who cooks, who gardens --
as though their relationship consisted
entirely of negotiating its own details.
At first this does not seem like love.
They tell guests
how many catalogs they looked through
to pick a new porch light,
and that they still have not decided
where to build the new pond.
They say they've talked a million times
about whether to get a dog,
and if so, what kind:

      "He wants a dog,
      but I'll end up taking care of it,"
      says Tom;
      "A dog would be perfect for him,"
      says Brendan,
      " -- he takes care of me,
      but he resents it sometimes."
      Tom could take care of a dog
      without ever resenting it.

Stretched out later in bed
with the Sunday paper
I think of their relationship,
founded on its own logistics,
and of my reading the Sunday paper alone.
Each week there are dozens of personals ads
seeking someone
to read the Sunday paper with,
but is that really what love's about?
One reads Sports, the other Style?
Or must you learn when to wait
to build a pond, what never to resent,
how to pick out light fixtures
with the stranger in your bed.

June, 2001

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