A Slow Death and Its Aftermath

Who came first doesn’t make much difference.

The more interesting question is who left first,

and when and how. Was it the one who cheated

and then regretted it, or the one who wanted to and didn’t?

The one who lingered too long at the gym to avoid home,

or the one who came in early and smoked weed

in front of the television? The one who fell asleep

on the sofa, or the one one who drank too much

alone on the back porch late at night when he

couldn’t sleep and there was no porn left to watch?

The one who finally walked out the door, or the one

who locked himself up inside? As far as the why,

that’s a pointless question too. They met, they

coupled, they separated, both, as a result,

a little better off, a little worse. Yellow roses

marked the beginning; red ones, the end.


Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper


A tangle of passions, in the plural

rather than singular and shared,

had brought them to this pass,

their desires and aspirations mismatched,

so that when the incensed burned out

and the wine bottle ran dry,

no one was surprised, not really,

at the expiration of what had become

mere ritual, mere ritual marked

for duty’s sake, no longer

a feast of cannibalistic fervor.

Then came a season of resignation

before the explosion that ended it all.

Afterward, there were tears, but those

dried up as well, and the world

creaked a bit on its axis

but continued to turn.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper

The Death of Love

Inevitably, when the two of them met, it was love at first sight,

the sight whose one eye cannot see and the other’s blind.

But the passion, if not the reason, flamed intense,

and they were both deceived equally in the pretense.

They went out, they had sex they thought was good,

and thoughts of seriousness were entertained.  One night,

after they’d been going hard at it, he slept content,

but when he opened his eyes, he knew that love had died.


Note: The final line, with slight modification, is taken from E. M. Forster’s Maurice.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper