I once saw one that bore apples and pears.
It was truly weird and strangely beautiful,
Twice-fruited. Copious, plentiful,
Glorious. Could that be us? Is this
The image I should use? Not ancient
Vice, unnatural growth, nature underneath
The yoke, but free to flower twice, he/she?
Joined at the stock; two bodies, and two sets
Of thoughts? Two lives and yet one energy?
So then, where do I make the cut? You ready?
Breathe, my love, and close your eyes. I throw away
The grafting knife. The job is done. We are
Already one, life slipped into life.
We’re standing at the bar and I’m buying
You a drink; you are rubbing my back.
Anyone standing behind us will think
You are my man, so sure your hand
In its quiet proprietary right.
Little do they know that you, Mr Uptight
Will stroke my spine but rarely meet my eye.
That you reach out without asking why,
Seeking comfort, seeking to comfort me.
Your hand performs its own soliloquy
Divorced from conscious thought. You are only
Mine metonymically. Your hip, my thigh;
Your hand, my side; our clavicles have met
And kissed and understood. Our heads, not yet.
Sarah Tolmie is associate professor of English at the University of Waterloo. Her books include the novel The Stone Boatman and the short story collection NoFood.