Secrets, you said, would hold us two apart;
You’d have me know of you your least transgression
And so the intimate places of your heart,
Kneeling, you bared to me, as in confession.
Softly you told of loves that went before,—
Of clinging arms, of kisses gladly given;
Luxuriously clean of heart once more,
You rose up, then, and stood before me, shriven.
When this, my day of happiness, is through,
And love, that bloomed so fair, turns brown and brittle,
There is a thing that I shall ask of you—
I, who have given so much, and asked so little.
Some day, when there’s another in my stead;
Again you’ll feel the need of absolution,
And you will go to her, and bow your head,
And offer her your past, as contribution.
When with your list of loves you overcome her,
For Heaven’s sake, keep this one secret from her!
From Enough Rope (Boni & Liveright, 1926) by Dorothy Parker. This poem is in the public domain.