“New relationships are exciting and invigorating. How can you keep that spunk and vitality in a long term relationship?” – How to Keep a Relationship Fresh, wikiHow.
The yellowing couples massage manual I picked up
at a garage sale says you should
be able to bring me
to orgasm with your big toe
while we sit across from each other at a table.
I try to imagine your waxen toe working
its way out of its tired salty boot
while we wait for crispy ginger beef, clacking
our chopsticks like beaks
or battered plastic chopsticks: all the soft
creases between thumb & forefinger, all the grateful
but not entirely needy mouths
they have been raised to.
I try to imagine your callused toe
lifting from its dusty sandal some Saturday
morning as we look for
& find pleasure
at the bottom of diner mugs.
It has all somehow been many years
of the same Saturday, our daughter coloring at your elbow,
hoping her pancakes will be poured out
with ears, that the cook at the grill has looked out
& seen her bowed head.
I try to imagine your hairy feet planted
on the lino at your parents’ as I pass the roast
& the potatoes, all of it seasoned
by your resemblance
to your uncle, our daughter’s resemblance
to your mother. The long exhale of these years?
Peppery kisses on my forehead as you go by
but also: small piles
of toenail clippings
forgotten on the bedside table.