It Happens to Everyone by Sean J. Mahoney

The scene fades in with him
and her slumped over each other.
Kitchen light stirs into the sparse living
room like the morning hash.
He strokes her toes
as she chases her breath.
She coils more tissue around her hand
and stares wide-eyed into the corners
of the ceiling, just as she did
moments ago with trust.
He sits up, drags his palm
over his face, checks the time,
and stares out the balcony door
at the orange moon setting.

An earlier act  – one bereft of pressure –
he and she bicycled
………….by an elementary school.
Capella to the west flashed white ruby,
………….emerald and lapis.

They debated whether an invitation
to thrust forward
into girl, girl, and a boy
or an illusion
in nova too soon,
too bright to be seen clearly.

She will remember – she saw
him drip sweat on the cold crest
of conquest, of success. He will
recall feeling her hands
press and lift at the small
of his back, depressing
as if a clenched pedal,
until he stopped moving.
He will check his briefcase,
snap his suspenders, and stumble
prematurely into the dawn
bearing down from the skylight
as the curtains draw close.

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