They talked about it while soaking in an unusually deep
red tub at his rented house. How the constellations
had gone out of their way to align, so that their paths
converged for a time in the redwoods, in a shingled
cottage above the creek. It was all so perfectly
temporary. He had easier hours at work. She,
the willingness and the freedom at midday. Even
some nights. Statistically improbable that their bodies
fit together the way they did. And that the words
he whispered fit so seamlessly inside her ear. But —
isn’t it written in the holy books? — the gods
do not like to dole out too much honey, so as not
to saturate the palate. Or the soul, which must
be allowed its hungers. And this was honey
by the spoonful: He played guitar and sang
for her while she soaped her limbs. He peeled
off her robe with his teeth while she read him
his favorite poems by the fire’s last flame.
Perhaps it is a mercy to have limits.
Isn’t unimpeded pleasure almost unbearable?
And isn’t there always someone, just outside
the frame, who has to pay? The gods
allow us only a moment of indulgence,
a little taste, right before, in their infinite
and merciless wisdom, they take it back.