box of jars

cynthia manick
I Try to Imagine Them Smitten
I've never seen my parents kiss
or try to be the silver 
dollars in each other's pocket.

In one photo they're on 
a green loveseat— the plastic
cover looks sweaty to touch.  
Dad is standing to the side, afro-
sheen bright as paint, mouth 
curved to sing something alive.
My Mom is seated, brown legs 
crossed and bare. 

Clasping hands they hold close 
those disappearing things—
slow dancing to Marvin's
mercy mercy me 
a mumbling river
a blue patchwork quilt its
ends ragged to touch
and a bowl of honey dew melon
saved for midnight when 
the kids are asleep.

Did they ever touch 
like bathwater on ankles 
or whisper thoughts so hot
only the dust could hear?

I try to imagine them smitten
past the slammed doors
past the obsidian quiet 
to side glances and half-speak,
but maybe it only happened once 
in a South Carolina grove 
where only the moon could see.