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Everything has already been said 
between them. Because of her face's 
wrinkled topography, soft as velour, 
she no longer speaks of the numbers 
of years. They sit in the livingroom

doing a crossword. Each does the words 
with which the other has trouble. 
The bones of his arms are spare in his sleeves, 
as she hands the pen and puzzle, 
without a word, back over to him.

Outside on the trunk of a tree 
he sees a bird, a red-breasted nuthatch, 
hopping headfirst and pecking the bark 
for noisy insects. Since it will be gone 
by the time she looks, he decides

not to tell her. The TV's on mute 
as the acronyms of companies 
crawl across the bottom of the screen. 
They represent workers digging a hole 
or writing-off lunch or pushing buttons.

The afternoon passes along 
without comment. When the woman gets up 
to leave, the man, in harmonious 
sympathy, rises, too. Already 
he looks forward to her next visit.