According to Brent, his parents didn't fight.

Their tight, well-oiled marriage cranked, summer and winter,

Like a combine that wouldn't stop for dinner.


Watching this endure-to-the-end marathon,

Brent expected something similar,

A challenging race

But over fields somewhat dear and familiar.


So, as a young bull, through the campus halls

Brent chased Nancy.

He braced his horns around her fancy waist

Sometime after psychology and before history.


In the beginning, marriage warmed the couple

Enough to produce six, healthy children,

Good kids all who gave their parents ten or twelve things to brag about.


In public, at least, they didn't fight,

But their well-acted charade was never bright.

And every year their phony performance cost more to produce.


As their levels of pain increased,

The caustic acids of anger and disappointment released

Bile which dissolved their willingness to forgive.


Although deep-core needs were never met,

Yet the strangers set a course which partly worked.

They kept their jobs, self-esteem, and children's love.


But now their pain-producing marriage has eroded into:

separate bedrooms,

separate check books,

separate joys,

separate goals.


So why do they stay together?

Why don't they make that final separation, once and for all?

Because their religion teaches it is not right.

So they endure wretched lives of loneliness and emotional fatigue,

Wincing under the increasingly heavy blows of marriage.


Allen Hackworth 2000