In matters of modern love, endings
generally come quietly and well before the curtain.
The rupture finale of melodrama and romance is rare:
seldom seen the operatic swoon:
outrage, flamboyant exit, pistol shot
(in answer to sins unpardonable)
are clearly on the wane.
It happens rather on a subway platform
in the midst of mild debate,
hardly heated, on the merits of a film.
Or between courses at a restaurant
unrated by Michelin
over the indiscretions of a distant friend.
An old incompatibility
of taste or moral vision gathers
in an unremarkable moment in a quite prosaic spot
to a settled recognition on one side or the other
of a wall that can't be climbed.
The rest—days or decades—is merest epilogue.