One Flesh by Elizabeth Jennings
Lying apart now, each in a separate bed,
He with a book, keeping the light on late,
She like a girl dreaming of childhood,
All men elsewhere - it is as if they wait
Some new event: the book he holds unread,
Her eyes fixed on the shadows overhead.
Tossed up like flotsam from a former passion,
How cool they lie. They hardly ever touch,
Or if they do, it is like a confession
Of having little feeling - or too much.
Chastity faces them, a destination
For which their whole lives were a preparation.
Strangely apart, yet strangely close together,
Silence between them like a thread to hold
And not wind in. And time itself's a feather
Touching them gently. Do they know they're old,
These two who are my father and my mother
Whose fire from which I came, has now grown cold?
“One Flesh” by Elizabeth Jennings is about an old couple who have grown apart in the physical side of their relationship during their years of marriage. An expression of this distance in the literal sense is expressed in the statement "Lying apart now, each in a separate bed," the comma in between the two statement used to emphasize the “each in a separate bed” to show that they find it uncomfortable to sleep together to share the more physical side of love. Another intake in which the distance is evident between them is in how the man "with a book, keeping the light on late" and the woman "dreaming of childhood," show that they are trying to show each other how they are preoccupied so that they will not have a reason to talk to each other. The comma after book adds emphasis to keeping the light on late which shows his ignorance of her need to sleep, showing his lack of consideration for her physical comfort. Along with the man keeping the light on, the woman dreams of her child hood all men elsewhere showing that even in her thoughts the physical side of a relationship isn’t present. Another instance of where the distance in their...
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