The Chemistry

By Greg Delanty

When lover looks at lover on a date,
the reward and pleasure zones of the pate
– the ventral tegmentum and caudate nucleus –
blaze, all but blow a fuse,
driven by a powerhouse of urges,
current surges.
Such ogling each other’s eyes,
the agony of bliss, each one another’s prize.
Then the spiraling into misery, doubt, worry,
texting each other to hurry,
“We’re too long apart.” Serotonin
usurped by the coup of dopamine.


Soon enough the highs fade. The Adonis or Aphrodite
turns into the ordinary, the ugly.
What did he see in those eyes,
that gazelle neck? Consider the blackheads
on her aquiline nose. Look at those wobbly thighs,
his paunch, the way she lies
with her back to him, that noble head
developing a double chin. How she wishes him dead,
daydreams how an accident would release these two,
a common fantasy that few admit to.
How guilty she feels, such thoughts in her head.
And “What about our kids”, the reason behind
the chemical trick; the lies that bind?


If the couple survive the dopamine withdrawals,
– the shattered Cupid spectacles –
they may begin the slow-burning relationship
soldering them together. Companionship
inducing oxytocin into the blood of matrimony,
healing the phantom bliss, the monogamy monotony,
building a network of companion receptors. The couple grow
into each other, learn the way of swan and crow,
tolerate the raucous caw-
cawing of the regular day of the jackdaw,
helped by chatter, laughter, the weekly lay, shared interest,
kids, building the family nest.
When one of the partners passes on
the oxytocin-bond is evident in the drifting lone swan.

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