John F. Buckley

I know this much is true

I remember sex with someone I actually liked
in a Nicaraguan hammock, thinking,
“This is why I let myself survive into my mid-twenties.”

She didn’t want children but had time to raise them.
I dearly wanted children
—I used to think I was fertile—
but worked twelve to sixteen hours a day.
We would give this ironic incompatibility
as the official reason why it happened.

I remember long, lazy days spent sleeping
and eating and reading in bed,
her running an unlicensed adipose-tissue farm,
while I waited in the living room for her
to want to go for a walk with me,
to go for a bike ride, to swim in the pool.

The man she fell in love with during our marriage
was born on the same day as me,
February 5, 1970, halfway around the world.
He has dark hair and muscular dystrophy.
She picked someone disinclined to be choosy about mates,
someone who was uniquely equipped to stay home with her.

I remember when she cupped my balls
and proclaimed that we could have sex,
but the relationship was obviously doomed.
Despite her pronouncement,
she made me be the one to actually voice the D word.

We lived in a country of two,
with a massive blind spot in our national consciousness.
This is why both our citizens revolted.
This is why both our politicians broke their promises
and engaged in continuous partisan bickering.
This is why our ship of government ground to a halt
on the sandbar or irreconcilable differences.

This is your captain speaking.
The lifeboat can only hold one.
Please proceed to the Lido deck
for a very special announcement.