Their cottage sat on a grassy bluff


weathered by salt spray, fogs, and rain


blowing off dunes and bleached logpiles


past tidal creeks seeping out to sea.

Cattails bobbed with red-wing blackbirds.


Sparrows clamored through wild-rose thickets.


Two dogs, spattered with sandy muck,


snoozed on the sunny porch steps.

Dinner simmered on the stove.


Pulling weeds in the garden, she smiled,


hearing his tires pop gravel and clamshells


at their rutted lane's long winding end.

The dogs leapt up, loped out to greet him.


This is how it should have been.


We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.