by Bill Yarrow

Liz didn't steal his heart
she embezzled it 

one of a number of larcenies
Phil endured and forgave 

ever since he met her
when he was nineteen

and she was twenty-two
but in a bikini top

and pink pedal pushers
she looked sixteen

so he walked taller than he was and she
pretended the hair on his lip was manly

love was an acid that etched
their hope into a metal present

but before ten years had passed
their loneliness had hardened

into indifferent sticky rapture
and permanent part-time jobs

abortions, bad bosses, half-hearted
infidelities, bankruptcy...

time felt like a kitten
wrapped in a rattlesnake

but implacable happiness
was also on its way