®

Today's poem is by Rafael Campo

The Couple

Releasing his determined grip, he lets
her take the spoon; the cube of cherry Jell-O
teeters on it, about to drop as if
no precipice were any steeper, no

oblivion more final. Earlier
today, he hemorrhaged, the blood so fast
a torrent that it splattered onto her.
She washed herself, unwillingly it seemed,

perhaps not wanting to remove what was
his ending life from where it stained her skin.
I watch them now, the way they love across
the gap between them that their bodies make:

how cruel our life-long separation seems.
The ward keeps narrowing itself to that
bright point outside his door—the muffled screams
along a hallway to the absolute—

and as I turn away from them it's not
their privacy, or even my beginning shame
I wish I could escape. It is the light,
the awful light of what we know must come.



Copyright © 2002 Rafael Campo All rights reserved
Landscape with Human Figure
Duke University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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