"The Third Way" by Matthew Landrum

“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.