Unlikely Love

I saw him today in the Public Garden
walking briskly and alone, all bundled up
against the snow and against the fact
that you don’t love him anymore.
How heavy his heart, I thought, and yet
he stepped so lightly, looked so self-possessed,
walking down the narrow pathway between
the benches. I knew he was suffering because
you told me how he had cried. And as he lifted
a gloved hand to adjust his ear-muffs, I felt
something for him, something in that moment
that I knew you wouldn’t understand if I tried
explaining it to you tonight when I saw you—
because I still don’t understand it myself.
It was something like pathos but something more
like love, really—I felt a sudden rush of love
for this man whom you don’t love anymore
and haven’t loved for a long time, as you told me
after that first time we kissed, back in October.
Now it’s the middle of February and I wonder
about him, wonder if his pain has stayed the same,
or gotten worse, or better, these five months I’ve been
making love to you without thinking of him—
and why should I think of him? But then suddenly
there he is, crossing my path today, looking
terribly alone, but also—I don’t know—girded
against the cold, against the loneliness, and I wanted
to follow him, not to where he was going but
how he was going. A part of me wanted to be him.
A part of me wants to be with you but a part of me
wants to be with him, head down in the wind, clenching
myself against the cold loneliness raining down.