Submitted Date 07/06/2019

A Marriage Ends
The end of my first marriage
Age 23-32, Durham/Apex, North Carolina, 1967-1976

-- This is one poem, in an autobiographical series of poems, that I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

She was two people
neither one complete

the first a needy child
the second an angry teen

they were like characters in a movie script
where the author didn't provide
a background or a past -
something was missing

after we divorced I realized
she had been a chameleon
who took on my personality
creating the impression of harmony
and intense devotion

later she shed that skin
and the trouble started -
as she turned her former likes into hates

for years I lived with two people:
one who clung and feared that I would abandon her
and as she said 'leave her in the gutter'
another who hated that her last name was mine
and ridiculed my work

six years before it ended,
I had two dreams about her

in the first
I was holding a child, my baby -
I felt her arms and legs
and that she was heavy
under the layers of blankets,
but her face was hidden -
so I pulled back a cover to see her
but instead, there was another cover
and then another and still another
until finally, like a Stephen King tale,
all the layers were pushed aside
but underneath
there was nothing, nothing at all

in my second dream,
I was driving with her up a mountain
as the turns became sharper and narrower;
at the peak
I looked down and saw
I had driven up a cone -
so I could not go forward
or turn around,
and backing up would end
with us falling over the side

for years I ignored these warnings

then slowly, carefully,
I created distance between us
until we separated
and she learned to live on her own

then, at last, I ended it

I was relieved
but shattered
that our love
had been an illusion

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  • David Ross Washington Jr 11 months ago

    Wow, this is deep. Not realizing who you are, I thought this was initially a battle with oneself. But now realizing who you are, I see this is the falling out of love and growing apart from two people in a marriage, until it finally ends, realizing that it's time to let go and it's not the unison of the two, but lone of one.

    • Rick Doble 11 months ago

      David: yes, Yes, YES -- thanks for the careful read and getting what I tried to do.

  • Ceara 10 months, 3 weeks ago

    she had been a chameleon
    Love this metaphor. This is so real and raw. Thanks for sharing

    • Rick Doble 10 months, 3 weeks ago

      The problem with chameleons is that you believe them and even they believe their current personality at the time.