Notes on the Ending of a Marriage

I

 leaving is not a gathering of belongings
but a pulling out of roots.
Each one with pain
Each one with blood.
Each one an amputation.
The name of separation is Legion.

Each loss, each emptiness, is greeted with surprise.
First surprise, then the quick denial, betrayed
already by recognition and acceptance.
And on their heels the quick, cloaked
despair. The scorched earth.

It comes in little things.
The whole unsteady edifice
exposed by ants, a steady stream of full stops
dripping over the screeen like a computer virus,
bringing ruin to the business of getting by.
The social irritations: the personal comments
over chicken in lemon sauce; the dull dismay of holidays;
the wave of emptiness while watching
the midnight film. The welcoming of
unsummoned and misplaced desire. No
major sins these; all small in themselves.
So the tree's roots are severed,
one by one,
one by one.
Until only the tap root remains.

To go back is impossible;
to go forward is unthinkable.
Now the shirt of poison burns.

Now call in the emergency services -
consult the experts,
friends who, one by one
break under this strain.
Vicar, welfare officer,
counsellor; your pain
lays exposed on their faces
before another friendship dies.
You didn't know the death of marriage is contagious.

Eventually exhaustion prises loose the precarious hold.


II

 The one who is left doubts the world, while
the one who leaves doubts herself.
Which is better off?
Mistrust v mistrust
ashes to ashes
dust to dust.


III

 ....I had not expected this tugging
this heavy wave of something precious lost
when I come unawares on places
I had only known with you.

I thought I had reached the bottom
but I find I am still falling.

©Alexa Duir 1991

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