by Maggie Cooper
We met on a riverboat, of course, in the same moment that my mother’s hatbox fell overboard into the Mississippi river.
We met in the refectory, where we both reached for the same bread roll and you blushed furiously.
We met on a street corner, when I asked you the way to the Town Hall, where I was to speak at a meeting of the League of Women Voters.
We met at a church bazaar, before a court of law, outside a village school, in a piazza, in a prison, at a barn raising.
We kissed under a plum tree by the synagogue, your mouth against mine for one brief moment before you heard the rabbi’s son whistling his way home from the market and drew away.
We kissed in the back of your older cousin’s car, the windows so foggy we could barely see the outline of the gym across the parking lot.
We kissed on the balcony at the Duke’s country house, and your lips tasted like champagne, sweet and strange in the moonlight.
We kissed in a gondola, during a cloudburst, at the top of the mountain, backstage at the opera, outside the Taj Mahal, atop the barricades.
We lingered on Prescott Street, holding hands under the pale green awning of the automat as you tied and retied the belt on your raincoat.
We lingered after the morning bell had rung, hoping the matrons would fail to notice our shadows, entwined against the hard gray tile.
We lingered over the Victrola, moving the needle back again and again, to hear yet another chorus.
We lingered in the shade of a sycamore, over coffee and croissants, in the nave, beside the police station, amidst feather pillows, outside the House of Lords.
We slept huddled together for warmth, your body pressing against mine as ice formed across the rough canvass of our tent.
We slept in a hammock outside your village, my fingers tracing the serpentine tattoos inked across your neck and shoulders.
We slept on opposite sides of thick prison wall, but when I held my breath, I swore I could hear you tossing and turning.
We slept in the Captain’s cabin, at an old motel, through lazy Sunday mornings, atop a mattress of pure goose down, in the back of the taxi, under the stars.
You left me outside the vaudeville theater, waving down the last stagecoach as it picked up passengers bound for Santa Fe.
You left me under the sign for Departures, with a one-way ticket in your hand and your favorite denim jacket slung over your left shoulder.
You left me in the gazebo, reading and rereading my newspaper as the sun rose over the garden.
You left me after the chess game, under the mistletoe, at the debutante ball, by the side of the road, before the bake-off, on the night of the full moon.
Maggie Cooper is writer and teacher with a passion for homemade scones and the U.S. Postal Service. She currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina, but you can find her on Twitter @frecklywench.