The End of the System-Mistress

Retired today – not to leave the mistress
         For my wife –  the mistress long since gone – at least for now –
                But more because they forced me on to love,
                       Their foreign way,
                               My wife of well-nigh forty happy years.

We shared the system-mistress, they and I
        Across a boundary drawn
                Through times long past by customs wide-diverging.
                       We’d made it work -- and found a way
                               To move her on then serve us well
                                        Despite her imperfections.

But systems stronger than the one we shared
        Were always wandering by with careless boots
               Dictating when and how and who to love, or not,
                        Regardless of the deep and longing eyes
                                Or desperation’s plight before our door.

So here today – a system firm and funded
         Careened from nowhere ’cross the polished floor
                  Brief bumped another, joining weight towards me
                             “to love her when you’re gone, you must withdraw
                                        And bide your leave on future-running dole”.

He’d pulled me from that car before they hit
         When former systems crashed and whirled and roared.
                 They’d cut the funds to halt my further action
                         But life continued, dazed, much as before
                                  Detached, empowered to love without restriction.

Mere shell they hit, as I cashed in
        My chips from earlier days
               A laugh, a shrug, a gentle hug –
                          ‘We’ll find another way’.