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the couple. the couple is a rhyme. a couplet. a thing that touches the palette with the tongue. and in verse, the couple has an apartment in the village. never is the artful couple in washington. never are they washingtonians. never. lovers yes, but maybe not the couplet of contemporary writing. and why not? flowers are not at the ready, cafes are not bursting onto the pavement. bakeries don't hold up the corners of heavy brownstones. no piazzas, no place like bastille. just movies or second run theatre. but loneliness breeds contempt. very sad. the broad avenues, the block parties, adams morgan day, promenades along the potomac, olde towne, even watching the jumbo jets touch softly down from the lawn, a bottle of wine, some cheese, better than manhattan.

we met at a fundraising party. to save the rain forest. she watched me smoke. she watched me dance with the boys. she watched me touch their sides and smile. watched my orange silk oriental tie flap with my dance. she wore a bright tight skirt. that's all i remember of that that night. a pale blue pattern. she was petite, below my horizon.

finally we met, without my being a doctor or lawyer. arranged to meet the next day at the smithsonian metro. the metro. a place, truly, for romance.

A tradition began that day of purple irises, of kissing whenever on the escalator, of always touching as though diving through caverns of zero visibility. to stray, to lose touch, we would be pulled apart and drowned.

©1997 Chris Abraham