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When I first fell in love, it was a hot thing—urgent, possessive, almost feverish at times. I truly saw love as being two souls in one body. We were opposites that complemented each other. He was my missing half, and I his.

But I wasn’t content with that. In some fervent way I wanted to be him, become him, live inside him, feel my heart beating in his body and his in mine. I wanted to meld with him.

Not surprisingly, I discovered this just wasn’t happening. There were times when our love felt like that, when we seemed so close, but then it would slacken and drift away. And when that happened, he seemed almost like a stranger to me, someone I barely knew, and did not understand at all.

That’s when I wrote the following poem.

 Love’s Duplicity

I look at you and see
A face at once slighted by closeness, yet
Dimmed by the distance I hold you;
A face overlooked and over known, yet
Laced by fingers, fearful to possess you.
And you look from eyes
Wary that you know me.

I look at you and see
How the lines forming you
Flow not into my own
But lie separately, falling
On planes apart.
Reasoning makes no clearer,
No nearer
That we lie two, not one.

I look at you and see
How the brown hollow of your eyes
Will ever haunt mine, and
I cry for me, for all whose heart’s desire
Is held ever at half embrace:
Half wanting, half waiting,
Half knowing
What we’ll never know.

I look at you and see
How these feelings we are one
Or we should be,
How we are strangers
Never touching,
Lie at odds in me.
Is it odd I reap of love
the bittersweet?

Eventually I realized we weren’t soul mates and probably never would be. And while I still yearned for us to become closer, he was content with the way things were.

While I wanted to know everything about him, there were parts of me—important parts—that he simply had no interest in. Like my passion for the arts, literature, philosophy, religion, writing. He knew I wanted to be a writer—that I wrote poetry and short stories and kept a journal—and he liked that about me. But he had no interest in what I was writing, never asked to read anything. Never seemed interested when I offered to share what I wrote. He wasn’t curious at all.

Finally, I let go trying to become closer, and we drifted away from each other. Our marriage became almost sterile, perfunctory. We shared a house, children, a bed. That was all. I realized that I no longer loved him. At times I barely liked him.

A veil of sadness descended over me, a yearning for something I feared I would never have. I felt my soul mate was still out there somewhere, waiting for me. But I realized I may never find him.

The following poem expresses that feeling of waiting for something that may never happen. It was originally published in a college journal.

Hot Hills in Summer Heat

I watch them every summer, the hot hills

Crouched like a lion beside the road,

Tawny skin pulled taut across

Long, lean ribs.

I would take my hand and trace

Round ripples of male muscle,

Feel the hot rise and cool dip

of his body.

I see the arrogance—rocky head held

High against a blazing sky, the patient

Power unmindful of the heat

that holds me.

One day he will rise, stretch his sensuous

Body against the sky with one, low moan.

On silent paws he will pursue me.

And so I wait.

by Deborah J. Brasket

We’d been married ten years by then, but I felt I could no longer live like this. It was time for me to leave.

(To be continued) In celebration of April as National Poetry Month and our 50th wedding anniversary (yes, I was a child bride), I’ll be reposting a series I published here years ago, an anatomy of love as it evolves over time, exploring married love in all of its manifestations:  Innocent love, erotic love, disappointed love, love lost, love renewed, and love that lasts.