Markers – James Penha

My parents lie next to each other in twin beds
as they lay among the last decades of their lives
after my father was expelled from their marriage
bed, the old mahogany double, in which I assume
I came to be. My mother had tired of her husband’s
thrashing while he slept. That was the cover story
I had no reason to doubt until my father was already
some years asleep in his casket under a Millbrook elm
and I saw my mother feel nothing more about him, tell
no tales of dad over and over or even once in my presence
and then

I could not recall ever having seen them kiss or

embrace or hold hands although they lived a half-century
together for some reason I thought was love and so
she sleeps next to him now at the crest of the hill
of the Millbrook churchyard where drainage has likely
delayed rot of the caskets yet but when their bones do
tumble in the dirt will their fingers even then touch?
James Penha

A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. His “Modern Love” essay appeared in the April 17 New York Times. Penha edits TheNewVerse.News, an online journal of current-events poetry.