middle aged lovers by erica jong

Middle Aged Lovers, I

Unable to bear
the uncertainty
of the future,
we consulted seers,
mediums, stock market gurus,
psychics who promised
happiness on this
or another planet,
astrologists of love,
seekers of the Holy Grail.

Looking for certainty
we asked for promises,
lovers knots, pledges, rings,
certificates, deeds of ownership,
when it was always enough
to let your hand
pass over my body,
your eyes find the depths of my own,
and the wind pass over our faces
as it will pass
through our bones,
sooner than we think.

The current is love,
is poetry,
the blood beat
in the thighs,
the electrical charge
in the brain.

Our long leap
into the unknown
began nearly
a half century ago
and is almost
over.

I think of the
amphorae of stored honey
at Paestum
far out-lasting
their Grecian eaters,
or of the furniture
in a pharoahs tomb
on which
no one sits.

Trust the wind,
my lover,
and the water.

They have the
answers
to all your questions

and mine.

Middle Aged Lovers, II

You open to me
a little,
then grow afraid
and close again,
a small boy
fearing to be hurt,
a toe stubbed
in the dark,
a finger cut
on paper.

I think I am free
of fears,
enraptured, abandoned
to the call
of the Bacchae,
my own siren,
tied to my own
mast,
both Circe
and her swine.

But I too
am afraid:
I know where
life leads.

The impulse
to join,
to confess all,
is followed
by the impulse
to renounce,

and love–
imperishable love–
must die,
in order
to be reborn.

We come
to each other
tentatively,
veterans of other
wars,
divorce warrants
in our hands
which we would beat
into blossoms.

But blossoms
will not withstand
our beatings.

We come
to each other
with hope
in our hands–
the very thing
Pandora kept
in her casket
when all the ills
and woes of the world
escaped.

© Erica Mann Jong