If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident
they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words;
 
if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire
only the tribute of another’s cry; if they employ each other
 
as revenge on old lovers or families of entitlement and steel—
then there will be no betrayals, no letters returned unread,
 
no frenzy, no hurled words of permanent humiliation,
no trembling days, no vomit at midnight, no repeated
 
apparition of a body floating face-down at the pond’s edge

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Y. J. Hall Kimiko Watson Chactas
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