“The Third Way” by Matthew Landrum
Aut amat aut odit mulier, nil est tertium.
We talked at a party once for an hour, maybe
a little longer. On the terrace, you held my hand
in a companionable way, as if touching would help
me understand your meaning – it was nothing romantic,
that, just comfortable. I listened as you talked, your hand
warm over mine and almost believed what you said
when you repeated the old proverb that a woman
either loves or hates, that there is no third way. Today,
we passed in the mall (I hadn’t known you worked there)
and our eyes met, briefly. I could tell from your look
that you couldn’t place me. So, there it is,
the third way: forgetting.
Matthew Landrum holds an MFA from Bennington College. His poems and translations have appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Sugar House Review.