Ordinarily

Ordinarily the lightest of sounds
Woke him:
A car turning the corner
Half a mile away;
A cat racing across the lawn;
A silent scream from
Somebody else’s nightmare.

But that night of all nights he didn’t stir,
Didn’t roll over in a last ditch effort to
Escape the disturbance,
As if that’s all it would take,
Didn’t mumble a pleaful objection as
Drawers were opened and slammed shut,
Or through the mixed and matched footsteps
Muffled by carpeting and clattering on the hardwood floor,
Despite dry throated coughs and muttered curses, or
As the front door creaked.

Perhaps that’s why she left him.
Because she knew that
At that most vital of times,
When life’s sorrows and joys were fully engaged,
Wrapped tightly around each other,
Not in a struggle to the death
But for conviction —
A bout full of pain and meaning —
He would sleep through the experience
And in the morning dismiss it
As just another one of her dreams.

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