Spencer Reece

1 Corinthians 13

How long do we wait for love?

Long ago, we rowed on a pond.

Our oars left the moon broken—

our gestures ruining the surface.

Our parents wanted us to marry.

Beyond the roses where we lay,

men who loved men grew wounds.

When do we start to forget our age?

Your husband and I look the same.

All day, your mother confuses us

as her dementia grows stronger.

Your boys yell: Red Rover!

We whisper your sister's name

like librarians; at last on the list,

her heart clapping in her rib cage,

having stopped now six times,

the pumps opened by balloons,

we await her new heart cut

out from the chest of a stranger.

Your old house settles in its bones,

pleased by how we are arranged.

Our shadow grows like an obituary.

One of us says: "It is getting dark."

Your children end their game.

Trees stiffen into scrapbooks.

The sky's shleves fil with starts.




"1 Corinthians 13" first appeared in The Massachusetts Review and is from The Road to Emmaus (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014).