On a park bench in Oceanside California I observed this man and woman, sitting less than a foot apart, watching ocean waves and seemingly counting approaching pelicans and scattering sandpipers. As I leaned against a rail watching and learning, I knew somewhere along the line that they would not speak nor touch. They sat so closely together I assumed they were there as a couple. Then to my surprise…well, read and see…you decide.

his hands
his hands told the story more than his face
always looking to the ground
eyelids covering his sins from earlier days
his hands kept one another company
clasped like eager lovers
yet wrinkled and broken with time
her hands
her hands told the story more than her face
lips painted crimson, eyes darker than dawn
regurgitated and void of respectability
her hands sandwiched together in prayer
skin loose from borrowed days
abused by menial labor
yet preserved in the same softness as her soul
his tears
his tears were earned in moments of yesterday
when silence was louder than words
and the hush in his mind was as the quiet before the storm
his tears were brushed away by hands
cracked and furrowed like a plowed field
yet they created a stream of their own
a path of least resistance
falling freely in the form of discarded memories and lost hope
her tears
tears born in her belly flowed from her heart
her eyes a conduit from which they streamed
brushed away by feeble, shaking hands
chapped and sore from swollen joints
and twisted aching fingers, moist from flowing tears
they poured freely as a graceful river
leaving no lines of demarcation
marinated as rejected remembrances and vanished hope
they sat
they sat alone, together
unspeaking, not touching
allowing a gentle breeze to wipe away their tears
he stood and slowly walked away
to the north
and she
unhurriedly promenading
turned to the south
looking over her shoulder
to the north
her tears had dried