A poet and a priest walked into a bar.
The priest, preaching, pestered the poet,
My flabber is gasted. From whence cometh
the odd and misguided notion that
what is ever once cut asunder, shall
ever be welcomed back out from under?
As if a blunder has come unblundered,
as if God has eyes to see what’s come unseen,
as if shreds stitched and splinted mend again.
And the poet, ever preening, presented,
Ah, but thou dost ramble, rood dude.
Thy cross is set askew of logic, sense divided
from sense, where, simply, Alzheimer’s
has appropriated the adrenal cortex,
androgen all agog, and he went all twitchy
and wants to marry her again. He forgot
he divorced her and fell head over heart
in love with her again. And she has not her ex’s
love letters sold on eBay. So that
when the children said Mom he’s old
and you still love him and he needs you.
But he doesn’t know me. That’s all
the more mindful motive to move
in, they said. And she knuckled to
her knees and knew she could and would
tend his wobbly ways down his last few steps.
And the priest parried, well put, but
not in my church they won’t. It’s demented
to do it over and I declare it denounced.
And the poet produced a parchment proving
himself licensed to link the lovers in their holy
matrimonious madness. And the priest said
better you than me, and better them than us
to rant and wrangle and let happy hour go sour,
for the hour is ours and, plus, it’s your round.
And the poet put a coin on the counter and
drinks were bartendered before them, glasses
clinked arm’s length, a toast they’d spoken now,
and henceforth evermore would hold their peace.
I read in the Washington Post last week of a man and woman married for a long time and the man was claimed by Alzheimer’s and thought his wife was his nurse and he fell for her all over again and they repeated their marriage vows with a huge wedding. A re-do. And I thought what if it really was a re-do. And thought some more: what if we all forgot last minute’s slap on the cheek–we really wouldn’t mind loving our enemy.