The Orphans

A man I met on holiday

told me once the story

of how he never met his mother.

She was blown to blitz

in the same old war that

his father fell for.

Their only child, he’d been

sent away to stay in a place

full of strangers, with dangers

of its own. He had known

no relative love or tenderness,

just the kindness of strangers.

He smiled unceasingly.

The woman he’d wed, an orphan

like him, said they were paired,

that they cared for each other,

sister and brother as much

as lovers. She grinned without end

at her partner, her friend.

I thought of them today when

I heard the distaste in the bray

of your voice. The orphans had

found each other, each chosen

the other and chosen to be happy

together. You and I came together,

we were never the chosen.

We do not like the same,

we are unlike each other

and like one another now and then.

If we too were orphans, I wonder

often if you would be better

widowed.