How it had happened they neither of them knew
but it only got worse. He hated the blank
blue ice of his stare and she couldn't bear
her thin voice telling him to turn
down the TV please, to stop diddling
with that clothes-peg, which without thinking he
clipped to the hem of her cardigan hanging
over the newel post as he mooched past.
It was Margaret at work who pointed it out
and all day it kept on taking her hand
by surprise, a bump in her cardigan pocket.
So naturally closing his old Noah's Ark
curtains that evening she pegged them together.
A few mornings later it waylaid her
inside her shoe. She snapped it on the end
of his toothbrush handle, so it wouldn't pull through
the holder, and found it next clipping the ear
of Humph, her venerable bear. For him she left it
dangling in the dark from the plastic light pull
in the bathroom, where he lit on the pot
of Paracetamol and dibbled it in.
It felt like a biro caught in his train pass
as he brought it out to show the guard,
and tugging a Kleenex out of the box
she spluttered at the clatter, but said nothing,
just hung it from the lining inside his tie
ready for the morning. And now the drizzle starts
as she's driving to work, she laughs out loud -
lifted by it skimming back and forth
riding on the stalk of the wiper blade.
From The Tightrope Wedding (1999)