Six Years Later

So long had life together been that now
the second of January fell again
on a Tuesday, making her astonished brow
lift like a windshield wiper in the rain,
    so that her misty sadness cleared, and showed
    a cloudless distance waiting up the road.

So long had life together been that once
the snow began to fall, it seemed unending;
that, lest the flakes should make her eyelids wince,
I’d shield them with my hand, and they, pretending
    not to believe that cherishing of eyes,
    would beat against my palm like butterflies.

So alien had all novelty become
that sleep’s entanglements would put to shame
whatever depths the analysts might plumb;
that when my lips blew out the candle flame,
    her lips, fluttering from my shoulder, sought
    to join my own, without another thought.

So long had life together been that all
that tattered brood of papered roses went,
and a whole birch grove grew upon the wall,
and we had money, by some accident,
    and tonguelike on the sea, for thirty days,
    the sunlight threatened Turkey with its blaze.

So long had life together been without
books, chairs, utensils—only that ancient bed—
that the triangle, before it came about,
had been a perpendicular, the head
    of some acquaintance hovering above
    two points which had been coalesced by love.

So long had life together been that she
and I, with our joint shadows, had composed
a double door, a door which, even if we
were lost in work or sleep, was always closed:
    somehow its halves were split and we went right
    through them into the future, into night.

-Joseph Brodsky, Six Years Later, 1968

Happy sixth anniversary, Jordan, and happy World Poetry Day.

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