“Seventeen Years” by Jan Hardy

Jan Hardy


I never thought I’d find a soulmate, partner, spouse
to tolerate my fussy, selfish, almost-OCD,
passive-aggressive self that swells to fill this house.
But I endured her quitting smoking and raging at me,
we’ve lived through kids, pets, aging parents, loss,
home remodeling, illness, disasters along the way.
Anniversaries are only sentimental gloss
on what we sand and hammer out each day.
Young couples always ask us for advice—
their eyes glaze when we say it’s work, and struggle,
and saying what we think, or pay the price.
I wish it were all sex and roses, kisses and a snuggle
on a winter’s night—more like the steady, necessary roar
of waves crashing and breaking against the shore.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003

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