Poem describing a slight physical connection and beginning of a new phase in a relationship.

On the night i finally kissed you,
hands having moved slowly – shoulder -
                                        to neck -
                                                  to that intimate space above your waist
we two just standing there, awkwardly holding, being held
and you holding still – perfectly still – frozen perhaps, by our mutual struggle between indulgence and sensibility,
you returned the kiss!
Such unexpected, lovely reciprocation!

Even as common sense intervened and you (so, so gently [reluctantly?]) pushed me away – “go home, Paul” 
  (I love you how say “Paul”)
It felt right.  
The struggle wasn’t over
Our mutual self-control was not fully lost
And it was safe – an appropriate time to depart.

And so I did, stumbling out to begin the familiar trip home
And I summoned the elevator to bring me down to the land of 1am taxis
And while waiting for that infuriating New York machine, you returned!
  (”just to see you out”)
Which was different than the other times. And wonderful.
After one last – slow – embrace in the hallway outside your door
we separated a second time.

The next morning, maybe full of regret, you told me from a distance,
  “please let’s try to avoid those situations”

In your clever way, this sad sentiment was delivered with a clever care
  (you could have ignored it
  you could have embraced it
  you could have forbidden it
  instead you acknowledged it - 
                                left the door open (just a crack)
  and left our friendship intact)

since then, more time has passed and now i clearly see the walls of this prison room

You cannot acquiesce to this attraction between us - 
  to do so would deny you of principle
                                      (”she may not want to be a mistress to you, Paul”)
  to do so would deny you of public joy
                                      (”this is my boyfriend, Paul”)
  to do so would deny you perhaps of ultimate joy
                                                (”this is my husband, Paul”)

Nor should I acquiesce!  Such harm! Such terrible harm would result!
  The one to whom I’m bonded
  The one to whom I’ve been bonded these many years
  The one who loves me
  The one I do not love for no fault of her own
  The one – she – my wife – underserving and innocent
  What could I say to her?
  How could I make any of this right to her?

i cleary see the walls of this prison room

Wife – who loves me (or thinks she does) – how could I issue such harm?

You, dearest and late-found love
Cannot be anything other than rigidly principled – I see this about you
  I should not ask you to surrender principle
  I should not ask you to surrender public joy
  I should not ask you to surrender perhaps ultimate joy

And me – loving you dearest with an earnestness I’d thought left behind many years ago

I should not and must not express that love
It is unfair to you -
                      – you cannot return it in your fullest measure -
                                                                      – probably forever

i cleary see the walls of this prison room    

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