Away for the Week — One More Thing

‘Now you look like an educated man,’ the woman says.
‘What’s that thing mean? I got it for a present from my sons.
From France.’

I read the motto on the little plate hung on the wall
Of this, the first non-risky bedroom Angela and I have shared
Since we embarked on this, the first discovery of fleshly joy
Of both our lives, now rediscovered nightly — as if we cannot credit it —
In this, the house the woman owns.

In golden letters:
Faire l’amour avec une femme sans ôter sa chemise
C’est manger un orange sans l’éplucher.

‘It means,’ I say,
To love a woman is a joy as sweet
As eating oranges in sunshine.

‘Well that’s nice,’ the woman says, and looks at each of us.
I look at Angela. She’s looking out the window,
Fighting back mirth, and fiddling with the ring she went and bought.

The woman adds, with emphasis, ‘I wish you both that joy yourselves,
And when the children come.’ Outfacing my straight face.