People in love constantly touch each other

one way or another. They huddle together

when they talk, some part of their bodies

clasped.  Sitting apart at dinner or at a party

entertaining friends, suddenly their eyes meet

across the room, as if bringing together

two worlds riven apart by circumstance.

When they sleep, her warm and ample leg

is thrown over his skinny calf; when it's hot,

they need not nuzzle, but even in sleep, there's

an occasional, reassuring brush.  Best of all

when they make love, leisurely or urgently

their two bodies throb as one.  When its over,

they still touch, chatter about, laugh; or else,

the act itself is prolonged, remaining

just comfortably arousing, not orgasmic;

and often their love-making is not even

genital.  But don't such lovers sometimes

need to withdraw into themselves?  Don't

they require some privacy, some space

of their own?  Actually, there are no

private places in love, no separate selves--

its not that everything is common or shared,

but only that there's no individuality

left, at least in the conventional sense,

no ego, no self obsessed with its own

fragmented happiness.  The whole is holy,

so there's only love, no lovers at all.  But

what happens when lovers such as these

quarrel or separate, destroying each other

in the process? What happens to their love?

When friendships break, when lovers part,

go their different ways, Love always remains

intact, immaculate:  only, it withdraws itself

from their lives, alighting like a dove of peace

on another pair.  But what of couples,

who like fine wine, age so well together,

assured and confident of each other's care,

they rarely need to demonstrate their affection,

have very little even to say to one another?

Even in their oneness, when they appear to be

two, they touch each other with their silences.

Together or apart, alive or dead,

those who love always stay in touch:

somewhere, somehow, their lifelines merge,

never to be plucked apart or split asunder.

Back to Selected Poems from Partial Disclosure

  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape