Sometimes, my wife thinks
she is still a saber tooth.
I call to her to come back

and we rock slow,
to and fro, in the sea
of here and not here.

She turns to quiet me,
to make me believe,
and I lie that I do

in our unquiet sea.
Shifting away again,
she abandons me in soul,

in body, in mind.
I await her return,
drowning, sour, impatient.

She does not surrender,
rejoins me at will,

stirs the tea,
tends the bread.

We are old now, hard
swimming past the line,
keeping the sail trimmed.

I wonder, is this what it is,
have I always been wrong,
hiking out so bold?

Helped out by this wonderful poem from the 8th century Japanese collection known as the Man’yoshu, posted by Leonard Durso. Thanks, Leonard!