You take the pine dining suite;

the chairs are rickety, almost gone.

They are nearly as old as our love.

We bought them the year our first child was born.

I shall compensate myself with the sofa from the lounge –

the one we bought twelve years ago,

that time the roof fell in, destroying much of what we owned.

The sky itself has long since fallen now.

The future tense we shared was cloud that blew away.

You always loved the Hostess Trolley – you take that.

You’ll want to play hostess again, I’m sure.

Just promise me you’ll glance occasionally at an empty dinner party chair

and remember the joy years.

With your permission,

I’ll take the Welsh slate clock –

the one we bought at the foot of Snowden,

that spring we spent Saint David’s day

walking hand in hand amongst wild daffodils,

dreaming of a future

that now we shall not consummate.

I’d like to keep the big pine bed –

the one we bought the year you ceased to sleep with me.

I can lose myself in its empty acres,

now I have finally learned to sail the sea of dreams without you.

Will you take charge of the photographs?

freeze dried recollections in pre-planned poses,

rubbing shoulders

with laughing eyes,

snatched in fading monochrome

from the jaws of forgetfulness.

Let me borrow them to scan some time.

I regret now that’s all I ever did when we shared them.

And tell me,

Do you require visiting rights over my promises?

Will you collect them on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons

and take them to the park to let them play a while?

As they grapple with the climbing frames of human limitation,

don’t let them see you weep.

We must always protect them from the knowledge

that they will never grow to maturity.

Who will take custody of our memories?

Will you seek a court order

that I should give them up to you?

Will strong armed henchmen drag them screaming from my arms

to your waiting vehicle

that you may spirit them away to somewhere they will forget me,

while you pretend I never fathered them?

Or shall we split them amicably,

like pension plans,

accumulating annuities,

that pay dividends in the currency of old age recollection?

And when our brittle bones sit musing by the fire light

in our respective solitary rocking chairs,

each of us from silent meditation

will occasionally be roused,

by the crackle of the burning coals

that reminiscence heaps upon our folly.

For if not now,

well, then at last,

we shall be old enough

and wise enough

to understand.

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