A Whole History
In the morning they were both found dead
Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
--Eavan Boland, “Quarantine”
The floor is cold with the coming winter.
I pull on white socks
and sit down before the blackout window
to think about our separation closing in.
We have a history longer than the two years
that fitted like a shirt.
You learned a long time ago to enjoy ironing.
I always had someone ironing shirts for me.
But we go further back than birth, to furtive
coded glances, tapping on bathroom walls,
ways of staying warm and white in winter.
Yesterday a young friend said it’s wrong
to expose children
to a gay wedding. The chill hit me again.
Rage spread like blood over my clean shirt.
I cannot wash it off. You are no longer willing.
In the closet the shirt,
part reminder of love, part reminder of rage,
is held up by its shoulders on thin twisted wire.