Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine poet laureate.

In today’s column, Dawn Potter of Harmony explores the theme of love in the long marriage.

After Twenty Years

By Dawn Potter

It is possible

that no husband really loves his wife.

Too easy it is to mistake

their scheduled arrivals and departures, their constancy,

for something greater than the dim outcroppings

of loneliness.

When, entrapped again

in the fervent throes of habit,

we cry, “Do you love me?”

they answer yes.

Their manners

are faultless, restrained.

They sleep deeply,

and, in the morning, scraping ashes from the stove,

only rarely do they forget to speak.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2014 Dawn Potter. Reprinted from “Same Old Story,” Cavankerry Press, 2014, by permission of Dawn Potter. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. “Take Heart: Poems from Maine,” an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.