“Car Chair” (1965) by Edward Hopper
Arriving at the airport I was sure
Of what I was about
To do: I had no doubt
I had to have this woman for my wife,
But she began to raise her voice and shout
(Some on-line check-in flaw
Meant seats not near the door),
And I thought fast and hard about my life.
Her shrillness passed through me like a knife
And left me somewhat shocked:
My confidence was rocked,
And I knew then what I had left behind
Was something I would find
I missed as soon as all routes back were blocked,
And there and then I turned and walked away
While she was busy trying to get her way.
I should have seen it coming from the first:
Her having such a lung,
And being highly-strung,
But then her beauty held me like a hook,
And every time I saw her I was stung.
I would have died of thirst,
Or shrivelled up, or burst,
Had I not taken all the steps I took,
But now I saw it plain as in a book:
The good life I had led
Could not be lived in bed,
And comforts that sustained me in the past
Were hardly going to last
Beyond the marriage I was keen to shed.
She knew how to inflict a wound, for sure,
But she herself could not provide the cure.
And so I took the holiday we’d booked,
The one my wife had planned,
And came to understand
How much my sanity and peace of mind
Were owed to her, and walking on the sand,
Or eating food we’d cooked,
How what I’d overlooked
Was that this was a marriage of a kind
That few of us can ever hope to find,
And that I was half-mad
To throw up what I had
For something that was really just a dream
Of licking off life’s cream,
And think this harebrained scheme would make me glad.
The thought of it sends shivers down my spine,
Though sometimes I still think of her and pine.