There’s always been discourse between us. It’s never seemed less than crucial,
but once the children grew,
its range began to grow too, and it started to stray from the normal,
if such a thing exists.
For years we’ve assumed, for instance, those maples down by the pond
were red ones, common as pavement.
Then today you somehow discovered they were actually Freeman’s maples,
a hybrid all around us
of red and silver strains. Who knew? The information

moves me just now to ponder
how much else I may always have carelessly taken for granted.
Four decades we’ve been together.
I look at you and I sigh. By now we’re hardly embarrassed
to admit how little we know.
I think of what’s said about snowflakes: there can be no identical two.
Like-minded as we two have been,
are we really in tune with each other? Can you tell that even at 80
the passion I feel for you

can almost make me swoon? I’ve told you that over and over,
and I know you’ll never know.
All my lassitude disappears in the times I describe, or rather,
the times I fail to describe,
when it seems life will never end, will be full of that passion but peaceful.
Yet old idols are leaving forever:
last week, the great Bill Russell died, slightly older than I.
A random example. Old-fashioned,
each morning throughout the year, I go through the local paper,

and with no real deliberation,
after I’ve scanned a few headlines and checked the scores of some games,
I look for obituaries.
I had a dream last night that all my recent poems
had been stuffed into a folder
by someone, likely me. It was marked with one adjective:
Last. I might venture one word
for our marriage too, but no: plain happy wouldn’t do.
It would take more words than I have,

and better, without a doubt, to explore the intricate ways
we’ve forged our curious union,
how over our handful of decades we’ve learned to hybridize
into one, like Freeman’s Maple,
to strain an analogy, though we’re as unlike each other
as those snowflakes I found in the vault
of easy-to-come-by expressions.
But so often it has seemed easy, despite typical marital trials,
to be just what we are for a season.

I could weep to think that it feels,
from any angle of vision, exactly like that: a season.