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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA when you challenge him in anything

he turns to you the face of a scolded child

before indignation overcomes him

from the eyebrows down.

when he lies through his teeth

there’s a barefacedness about it

that almost makes you reel,

that almost makes you believe.

he lacks the grace to blush

when that might have been enough.


but you melt inside to hear

that laughter like a welcome home,

a retreat into the recent but irredeemable past,

when the way you held each other

was light as you might cradle an injured dove

that flew into your backyard fence one evening,

but ferocious and all-consuming in its tenderness.


you remember the days

you wandered off the trail

lost in a complicated argument

of not quite the whole truths

and sheltering in pizza parlour bars

while the rain came down like doomsday

on the tetons, left feeling inconsequential,

as people clutching strange instruments

cluster in around you for a hootenanny.


maze of creases on his face

from a crumpled pillowcase

like a map back into his childhood

when his mother might shake

him gently awake for school.

he suddenly seems defenceless

when you rouse him at 3 am

bewildered and plaintive

and you forgive him before

he can even begin to apologise.


Photo by Chantal